NEW YORK (CNNfn) - Microsoft has abandoned the controversial "Smart Tags" feature it was packaging in its new Windows XP operating system following criticism that the function was a cloaked attempt by the software maker to forcibly lure new subscribers to its Web-based services, a published report said Thursday.|
Company officials said Smart Tags won't appear in the final version of Windows XP due out Oct. 25, or in its new version of its Internet Explorer 6 Web browser, the Wall Street Journal reported
Smart Tags allow Microsoft's (MSFT: Research, Estimates) Internet Explorer browser to turn any word on any Web site into a link to the company's own sites and services, and the links would appear without the knowledge or permission of the Web site's owners, the report said.
"We hadn't balanced the legitimate concerns of the content providers with the benefits we think Smart Tags can bring to users," the Journal quoted Jim Allachin, Microsoft's vice president in charge of Windows and the Web browser, as saying.
Click here to check on software stocks
Microsoft executives also feared the growing criticism of the new feature would mar the launch of its new operating system, one of the company's costliest marketing efforts ever, the paper said.
But Microsoft said it defends the Smart Tags idea in principle, and that it plans to include the feature in a future release of Windows or its browser, in a more acceptable form, the report said.
Shares of Microsoft gained $1 to close at $71.14 in trading Wednesday.