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M$ tries to calm nerves over RSS

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A Microsoft executive who set in motion a small storm in cyberspace over the future of RSS has moved to try and calm the situation.

Mike Torres, the lead program manager of Microsoft's blogging platform, MSN Spaces, set out on Tuesday to convince bloggers and programmers alike that Microsoft had no evil intentions towards RSS and was not spreading FUD in an effort to stall the development of RSS.

"Despite the fact that the media thinks Microsoft doesn't like RSS... the reality is most of us love it, myself included.," wrote Torres in a posting to his blog, Torres Talks. "Don't believe the hype."

RSS is a XML-based service that alerts Internet users to the latest articles or postings on their favourite Web sites via a single feed reader. It's also convenient way for those who provide content on Web sites, in blogs and other places, to keep track of what they are providing and give users and customers appropriately structured content.

Microsoft came under criticism after it proposed calling RSS feeds "Web feeds" in Vista, the next version of its operating system.

Bloggers have argued that there is nothing wrong with the term "RSS", pointing out that the term has been taken up by The New York Times and the BBC amongst others, with the orange RSS logo becoming a familiar feature of many Web sites.

Torres, though, argues that it is wrong to accuse Microsoft of breaking with a prevailing standard since there is no real standard there, citing Mozilla's use of the term "Live Bookmarks" in Firefox, and Google's use of "Feeds", among others.

By Colin Barker

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