Reuters - Microsoft Corp. and eBay Inc. informed that they would link software and web data to make it easier for auction sellers to manage their auctions on eBay's marketplace web site.
The effort between the world's largest software maker and largest online auctioneer will enable parts of Microsoft Office software to exchange real-time data with eBay's vast web site, which allows buyers to bid on items posted by other sellers.
Debbie Brackeen, director of developers programs at eBay, said that the initiative by the two companies targets software developers who develop products and services based on eBay's online commerce platform.
"The ultimate goal from eBay's point of view is that we end up with more solutions in the hands of eBay users that benefit their trading activity on the eBay marketplace," Brackeen said.
Ebay has become a virtual storefront for many high-volume sellers, allowing them to sell goods via the online auctioneer without building their own sales systems. But often, the process of sending and receiving information about multiple products can be laborious if done via eBay's main web site.
Developers can tap into eBay's data and offer them directly to Microsoft's programs, such as Excel and FrontPage, without having to go through a Web browser. Under the joint effort between Microsoft and Ebay, both companies will provide software that will allow developers to use Microsoft's Excel spreadsheet program, one of the components of Office, to upload information on items for sale, track ongoing auctions and collect historical data.
In addition, Microsoft will also link its home page publishing program FrontPage with eBay's data services, allowing developers to make programs that create web home pages reflecting information pulled directly from eBay.
Microsoft and eBay have partnered in other ways in the past -- for example allowing users to log on to the auction site using Passport, Microsoft's identity management system.