Microsoft plans to publish this fall details of forthcoming products that
support radio frequency identification, a wireless technology that could help
retailers keep track of merchandise.
Javed Sikander, Microsoft's RFID program manager, said on Thursday that the
company plans to add support for the wireless technology to its core software
and is also working on RFID
products for small businesses.
"Major retailers like Wal-Mart and Tesco rely on small suppliers, who often
can't afford to buy expensive RFID services from several different suppliers,"
Sikander said. "They need an out-of-the-box RFID solution that they can just
The tracking technology uses chips fitted with radio antennas to send
information about individual products, such as razors, to a store's computer
network. Analysts say that the adoption of RFID technology could help retailers
cut costs and improve delivery of supplies.
Sikander, who was speaking at the RFID
Networking Forum in London, added that Microsoft was working to add
functionality for the technology to its back-end software, so that other
companies could develop services for large customers.
However, he declined to reveal full details of Microsoft's plans, explaining
that the company was attending the Forum to "share its vision and direction, not
its detailed road map." More details of Microsoft's strategy should be unveiled
in the next three months.
"Some RFID products and services will be launched by Microsoft next year,"
Sikander said, adding that this would cover both the high-end market and the
small and midsize market.
Microsoft published a survey on Thursday that found that 60 percent of
companies either haven't heard about RFID or think they don't really understand
According to Sikander, more effort needs to be made to persuade companies
that RFID has genuine potential and can generate a significant return on
Graeme Wearden of ZDNet
UK reported from London.