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RSS: What's In A Name?

by David Utter

A bit of a kerfuffle has erupted over Microsoft’s proposed name change to news feeds as handled by the upcoming IE7 web browser.

The specter of Microsoft has appeared over the realm of RSS, its ominous shadow casting a pall upon the world. The Redmondians have deigned to rename RSS feeds at “web feeds.”

Dave Winer, who refined the old Netscape RDF Site Summary protocol into what is now RSS, has found fault with Microsoft’s choice of names. “Like it or not Microsoft, the technology is called RSS. If you try to change that, for whatever reason, you will get routed around,” Mr. Winer posted there.

Later, MSN Spaces Lead Project Manager, Mike Torres, observes that a few other companies don’t strictly refer to RSS feeds by that name. He posts that RSS “isn’t even mentioned” in places like Bloglines and Newsgator Online. “Despite the fact that the media thinks Microsoft doesn’t like RSS and wants it to go away, the reality is most of us love it, myself included,” he writes.

Microsoft gets a lot of criticism, some of it deserved, and draws it due to their status in the tech industry. Google is starting to see that kind of scrutiny, albeit much less, as well. Without a compelling reason or legal requirement to call them RSS feeds, Microsoft and other firms will find different names for the technology, for a variety of reasons.

Doing so doesn’t necessarily signal some evil intent on a company’s part. Not even Microsoft.

About the Author:
David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

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Camilla Todd
Camilla Todd is Head of Digital Marketing at WNW Digital and manages Search Engine Optimisation, PPC, Social Media campaigns and Brand Awareness for WNW Digital SEO clients. You can follow her on Twitter @camilla_wnw, email her at or phone on 01392 349580

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