After starting a small row in cyberspace by trying to come up with its own name for RSS feeds, Microsoft this week let it be known that it now accepts that RSS is here to stay, and one division within the company has even accomplished that most unusual of feats: an accommodation with an open source group.
Faced with an open standard for incorporating structured content, Microsoft had originally demurred from using the common, orange, RSS logo. In a very public argument, both sides threatened not to move on the questions of the way in which RSS was used and on the relative merits of different logos.
In August Microsoft went to some lengths to persuade people that it wanted to embrace RSS when Mike Torres, lead program manager on the Microsoft blogging platform MSN Spaces wrote: "Despite the fact that the media thinks Microsoft doesn't like RSS... the reality is that we love it." The controversy arose because Microsoft had proposed changing the RSS logo, and the name of the service within Internet Explorer 7. The company still proposes changing the logo, but has now decided to adopt the Mozilla logo instead of coming up with its own.
According to Jane Kim, programme manager for RSS at Microsoft, the choice of the new logo came down to the need to avoid the use of text. "Icons that have text do not generally work well for a global audience," she wrote in her personal blog on Wednesday.
The Firefox/Mozilla community seem to have accepted that this is a sensible way forward. As one commentator wrote: " Kudos [to Microsoft] for doing the right thing and getting together with the Mozilla people to decide on a common icon to use. Who'd have thought that of all the product teams in Microsoft the IE7 team would be the one to really... collaborate? Someone in Hell must surely feel chilly these days!"