Microsoft Ups Stakes In RSS Race

    December 26, 2005
    WebProNews Staff

Companies that offer RSS reader products and services are now in a race against time, as Microsoft prepares RSS functionality within Outlook.

The ubiquitous presence of Outlook as an email client on corporate desktops could lead to the wider usage of RSS feeds by end-users. That shift will come at the expense of the myriad providers of similar services like Pluck and Bloglines due to Outlook’s default placement on millions of PCs globally.

A Microsoft product manager for Outlook, Michael Affronti, posted about the forthcoming RSS Aggregation support in Outlook. His blog outlined the simple strategy Microsoft will use to increase the number of users of RSS, now thought to be about 6 percent of online users:

While RSS can be a complex technology to interact with, Outlook will merge the complexities and cover it with our friendly user interface.

This doesn’t give businesses outside Microsoft much time to build a loyal following for their RSS reader services. While Outlook most commonly appears in the workplace, RSS integration in forthcoming products like Internet Explorer 7 and the Windows Vista operating system should find its way onto home-based and small-office PCs.

It will not be surprising to find Microsoft develop a method of synchronizing the feeds received at work with a service like Hotmail or Windows Live, so users can have access to them outside the work environment.

The development of RSS support in Outlook does bolster its potential to complement email for all kinds of site publishers, whether they are massive corporations or single-owner blogs. One commentor on Affronti’s blog noted how a single inbox folder for RSS feeds could be useful, to sort feed items by time rather than by individual folders per feed.

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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.