Web content creators and site operators, upset over a controversial feature in Microsofts upcoming Windows XP operating system, won a temporary reprieve last week when Microsoft said it would pull the Smart Tag feature — at least for this year.
The feature would enable the company to insert its own links into Web content viewed through its Internet Explorer browser.
The company decided to kill the feature after being overwhelmed by negative reaction to the technology, said Jim Allchin, Microsofts group vice president in charge of Windows and Internet Explorer. "We hadnt balanced the legitimate concerns of the content providers with the benefits we think Smart Tags can bring to users," Allchin told The Wall Street Journal.
Smart Tags turn any word on any Web site viewed through Internet Explorer into a link of Microsofts choosing. That link — which appears as a squiggly purple underline — could take users to a Microsoft property or any other site or Web page of the companys choosing. Content creators criticized the feature because the new links would have been added without their permission, effectively giving Microsoft editorial oversight of their content.
Allchin said he remained supportive of the technology, adding that the decision had as much to do with Microsofts reluctance to see the feature undermine the rollout of Windows XP, which is due Oct. 25.