Controversy has erupted over Microsoft's decision to abandon the term 'RSS' in the forthcoming version 7 of Internet Explorer.
Instead of using the acronym for real simple syndication, the software developer said on the IEblog that it plans to refer to the RSS syndication technology as "web feeds".
"We’re still actively exploring what is the right name to use for RSS feeds, " a poster called Jane wrote on the IEblog.
RSS is used to inform readers of a website when content updates are posted. The technology uses specially crafted RSS readers or online services. Most news websites offer special RSS feeds, as do blogs.
The planned name change by Microsoft has lead to an outcry within the blogosphere. Opponents charge that the company's move will lead to forking of the standard with Microsoft creating its own, incompatible substandard.
Dave Winer, who is considered the godfather of the technology, referred to Microsoft's decision as the actions of a "mean monopoly" and said that the company is "screwing with RSS".
Even Microsoft blogger Robert Scoble sided against his employer.
"Like it or not Microsoft, the technology is called RSS. If you try to change that, for whatever reason, you will get routed around," he warned.
But Microsoft executive Mike Torres, the lead programme manager for MSN Spaces, defied the criticism. There is a difference between how RSS is marketed to end users and the underlying technology, he argued.
He pointed out that other applications including Firefox and Newsgator refer to RSS as live bookmarks and feeds, respectively.
"Looks like millions upon millions of people are using RSS: the technology, but not RSS: the brand," Torres rebutted.
Torres also justified using the web feeds reference because Windows Vista will offer functionalities that go beyond the classical use of the technology.
Siding with Microsoft, senior research analyst Joe Wilcox at Jupiter Research argued that RSS is merely a technology.
"RSS describes a technology, in some ways a function, and like other technology nomenclature should remain with the specialists. The masses deserve something more palatable," Wilcox said.
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