Microsoft Also Exploring Cookie-Free Web Tracking

Cookies are the most popular way of tracking Internet users today, but by this time next year, they could be old news. We already know that Google is planning to replace cookies with something else, and there's chatter that Apple and Facebook will follow suit as well. Now we've learned that Microsoft is looking beyond cookies, too.

Microsoft's engineers are said to be developing technology that would make it possible to track users across multiple Windows-based platforms, including desktop PCs, tablets, and smartphones, as well as its Xbox console and various services, such as Internet Explorer and Bing.

Fortune Cookie

"We agree that going beyond the cookie is important. Our priority will be to find ways to do this that respect the interests of consumers," Microsoft told Adage in an email.

One of the major reasons why is because third-party cookies aren't able to track mobile devices. Cookies also have no bearing on TV and streaming video services.

Instead of using cookies, Microsoft is moving towards a device indentifier. In practice, let's say you purchased a Windows Phone device with this technology (none have it, as far as we know). in the ToS, you would opt-in and give permission for its advertising. Microsoft would then be responsible for your data and privacy, versus cookies, which aren't owned by just one company.