While QR Codes (mobile barcodes) have never really been as invasive in the US as they are places like Japan and some European countries, Microsoft's version of QR, called Tag, will be shut down on August 19, 2015.
Microsoft spent a good amount of resource developing Tag, which actually provides more information in a smaller space than QR Codes, but as with any Microsoft innovation, they are truly horrid at marketing. Microsoft's public marketing efforts for Tag could be seen at conferences like TechEd and MMS where the codes were scanned for giveaways, but not in many other places. I remember winning a year of Xbox Gold at MMS 2011
One company that I worked for in marketing, we tried very hard to implement both QR Codes and Tag on all company slicks, but of course, the QR Codes were always the most popular.
The app for Microsoft Tag was the very first app that Microsoft developed for the Android platform, allowing both Android and Windows Phone devices to be able to scan and read the codes.
While Microsoft may be eliminating any future development for Tag, they are transitioning the technology to ScanLife, a cloud-based NFC/QR company.
This is one of those news stories that is nice to know, but people really don't care. Which is probably a reason why it is so easy for Microsoft to let this one go.