Announcement CES 2009: Microsoft Tag

Microsoft Tag

What Is Microsoft Tag?

Microsoft Tag is a marketing solution that enables consumers to access and share useful and fun content in a simple way. It also helps marketers engage with consumers in meaningful and creative ways, and to measure effectiveness.

The Microsoft Tag application lets people use the camera of their Internet-capable mobile phone to snap a tag, which will quickly and easily connect them to mobile content such as videos, music, product information, ring tones, free text and other promotions.

Designed with ease of use in mind, it enables users to easily bring information such as business card contact details to their cell phone, without having to type anything.

Colorful two-dimensional tags can be used to transform traditional marketing media (for example, print advertising, billboards, packaging and merchandising in stores or on LCDs) into live links for accessing information and entertainment online. Tags can be included on all kinds of material: paper handouts, vCards, T-shirts, magnets, online displays and even dog tags.

Microsoft Tag is available via a free beta download for commercial publishers and the general public in the United States starting Jan. 7, 2009; it will roll out in other countries at a later date.

Microsoft TagMicrosoft TagMicrosoft Tag

Consumer Use: Users can download the free Microsoft Tag reader application to their Internet-capable mobile device with camera, launch the reader and read a tag using their phone’s camera. Depending on the scenario, this triggers the intended content to be displayed, data to be integrated, e-mail to be sent and so on.

· Users can instantly connect to related content, such as a movie trailer, mobile TV and video clips, event details, exclusive discounts, or a map with directions — automatically downloaded to their cell phone. There is no longer a need to remember and type out long URLs.

· With a tag on a business card, others can automatically upload contact details on their phone just by reading the tag.

· Anyone can create a tag using a PC. Adding a tag to a vCard automatically links information to a site, blog or profile on Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn or other social networks.

Publisher Use: Microsoft Tag helps publishers connect with customers in new ways and gives access to analytics that can inform marketing strategies. With Microsoft Tag, marketers can create unique brand experiences and enable more effective and efficient decisions about marketing spending, in ways that include the following:

  • Broad applicability of the Microsoft Tag solution. Microsoft Tag can link to multiple content types, including the Web, vCards, SMS, e-mail, calendars, mapping, social applications, coupons and promotions.
  • Create viral buzz. Content exposed to the customer through the use of Microsoft Tag can be shared easily with others.
  • Analytics. Microsoft Tag allows publishers to see which tags are being read when and where, with detailed impression activity via the Microsoft Tag campaign management site at
  • Size. Artwork can be as small as a 5/8-inch square, no matter what content the tag links to.
  • Reliability. Publishers can feel confident that Microsoft Tag has implemented a technology that gives a dependable lock and decode rate.
  • Visual appeal. Tags are colorful and integrate well with the majority of color collateral.

To Install Microsoft Tag:

The Microsoft Tag reader application is a free download for an Internet-capable mobile device with a camera, available at Installing the reader is quick and easy.

The Microsoft Tag reader is compatible for Internet-capable mobile devices, including many based on the Windows Mobile, BlackBerry, Java, Symbian S60, iPhone and Java ME platforms. A detailed list of all supported phones is available at


The Microsoft Tag reader application is free to download, and the use of the application (that is, reading a tag) also is free. Standard carrier rates apply to the data sessions and download time on the mobile device. Those fees are dependent on the consumer’s data plan with the carrier. During the beta, the creation of tags for both commercial and noncommercial use also will be free.

Additional Microsoft Tag Resources

Microsoft Tag product information is available at

Some Tag examples:


Microsoft Tag on SQL 2008

SQL Server 2008

Microsoft Tag on Halo 3 

Halo 3 for Xbox 360


Microsoft Tag on Windows Red

Windows Vista Ultimate (PRODUCT) Red

Your turn to create your Tag!!

Comments (7)

  1. DevilsRejection says:

    1: It’s a new standard that doesn’t store the data in the tag itself, like a QR code does, hence the internet connection. What happens if this takes off and the tag server goes down for an hour, all those tag users will be left useless!

    2: It requires color ink, which can fade over time and not many people have color printers at home/school/work.

    3: The only way to create a tag is to have a tag account.

    4: I will say this however: good job on having a client ready for every single platform out on day one. I would like to see how you guys plan on making this take off. I’m sure you’re well aware that Google is building their own QR, Sema and Barcode reader for all major platforms and making it open source.

    5: One more thing … fantastic recognition time. Practically instant on my Nokia E71. The technology is sound, politics and money will make this standard sink or swim.

    Good luck Microsofties!

  2. I moved recently, and when I did I threw out about 5 almost full boxes of unused & out of date &

  3. BStateham says:

    I’m loving tag, but where is the developer API?  How do I create and consume tags in code?

  4. rmanke says:

    How about having a design guide or set of standards for printing tags?   (ie. do they have to have a white border, etc?)

    I’m having the darndest time getting them to be recognized once I print them.

  5. Co vy? Vyzkoušeli jste si už vytvořit svůj vlastní tag? Že nevíte co to je? Tak tedy: Na CESu 2009 byly

  6. download free ebooks says:

    These are all nice pictures, are they automatically uploaded to your pc for later use?

  7. Anoyomus says:

    I like the tags. I use them for my business cards

    – looks great

    -Wish they had a tag reader for the pc

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