Microsoft tests online marketplace

CIOL Bureau
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NEW YORK: Microsoft Corp., the world's largest software maker, started testing a free U.S. online marketplace on Tuesday as part of its ongoing efforts to capture a larger share of Internet advertising.


Similar to the popular Craig's List, an online community site with jobs listings, personals and for-sale items, Windows Live Expo serves as a bulletin board for users on Microsoft's MSN Internet network.

Expo will be part of Windows Live, Microsoft's suite of free Internet-based applications such as online e-mail, Web search and instant messaging, supported by advertising.

Windows Live and Office Live, a Web-based application for small businesses, are part of Microsoft's push into online services to better compete with Google Inc. and Yahoo Inc. for Internet advertising money.


Both are targeted for launch in the second half of 2006.

Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft said Expo categorizes postings by zip code and not just by city location to allow users to filter ads by distance. Also, a user could check across the entire United States for a specific product and not be limited to a single city.

In the online classified space, Microsoft will face competition from Internet auction site eBay Inc. and Google Base.

Expo is also integrated with MSN Messenger to allow buyers and sellers to instantly discuss or negotiate a deal and users can also limit the ads to only those posted by people on their e-mail or messaging contact lists.

Listings will also be accessible via MSN Spaces blogs.