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eBay and Microsoft Partner on E-Commerce

eBay and Microsoft Announce Strategic Alliance To Expand Global Online Presence

Broad Cooperation Will Simplify and Streamline E-Commerce Across Multiple Web Sites and Applications Worldwide

SAN JOSE, California. March 12, 2001.

eBay Inc. and Microsoft Corp. today announced a strategic alliance to jointly expand their global online presence and improve the e-commerce experience for consumers. The two firms will work together to enable buyers and sellers on the Internet to seamlessly interact across multiple Web sites and other applications anywhere in the world.

The alliance calls for broad cooperation initially focusing on three key initiatives expected to roll out this year. First, eBay will support Microsoft .NET technologies, and will be one of the first Web sites worldwide to offer its community-based commerce engine to Web developers as an XML-based Web service. Second, Microsoft will integrate eBay's marketplace into a number of its Web properties, including select MSN Internet service sites worldwide, Carpoint, bCentral and WebTV. Finally, eBay will deploy Microsoft technology including Windows 2000 Server and Microsoft Passport.

"This alliance with Microsoft will be another exciting step forward for eBay," said Meg Whitman, President and CEO, eBay Inc. "By working with Microsoft's cutting-edge technology we will significantly strengthen eBay's marketplace and our community's ability to trade seamlessly at any time from anywhere on the planet."

"I am personally very excited about this deal because it combines eBay's online trading community with Microsoft's pioneering .NET platform technology," said Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer at Microsoft. "Together, with our shared vision for creating Web services that break the bounds of today's isolated Web sites, we can significantly enhance the online experience for millions of online customers."

Web Services Collaboration

Central to the alliance is the intersection of key new technology initiatives: eBay's API (application program interface) and Microsoft .NET. eBay's powerful commerce engine, which can be licensed by third-party Web sites through the API, will now be offered as a SOAP-based XML Web service. SOAP, an industry standard, provides an open mechanism for different applications and Web sites to converse over the Internet. The Microsoft .NET platform will extend the eBay API, making eBay's engine accessible to potentially millions of developers worldwide, and help eBay offer its services to consumers through a wide variety of devices and applications beyond the browser.

eBay Integration with Microsoft Web Properties

Microsoft will use eBay's programmable XML-based Web service to integrate the trading services of eBay's online marketplace into a number of its own Internet properties including the MSN network of Internet services, the Carpoint online automotive service and WebTV service. The integration of the services is currently planned to debut later this year and will be available in a number of the 33 international markets in which MSN currently has a presence. These services will allow consumers easy access to the global eBay trading community within localized MSN environments. For example, Carpoint will integrate eBay Motors as its used car listings and transaction engine, making it easier for Carpoint users to buy and sell used cars, motorcycles and car parts online.

eBay's trading services will also be integrated into Microsoft bCentral small-business service. Through Microsoft bCentral, small-business merchants will be able to extend their e-commerce capabilities by directly posting items for sale on eBay's marketplace from within the Microsoft bCentral hosted Commerce Manager service. In addition, bCentral and eBay will provide for full transactional integration between bCentral customer commerce Web sites and eBay, including the ability to determine status of listings on eBay and view transaction history directly from bCentral. Microsoft and eBay will cross-promote these services on their respective Web sites.

Microsoft Technology Deployment

To support the deployment and operation of its new XML-based Web service, eBay will deploy Windows 2000 Server across all of its front-end Web servers. The solution is expected to enhance reliability, performance, scalability and cost effectiveness moving forward. As part of the alliance, eBay will also offer its users the ability to register and sign in on eBay using Microsoft Passport. Over one hundred million users worldwide have Passport accounts that provide a common user name and password that works across a growing network of Web sites.

Future Collaboration

The two companies are also collaborating on a variety of other projects around Web services integration and the delivery of next-generation user experiences, including eBay's plans to capitalize on the forthcoming Windows XP operating system.

The financial terms of the alliance were not disclosed.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software -- any time, any place and on any device.

About eBay Inc.

eBay is the world's largest online trading community. Founded in 1995, eBay created a powerful marketplace for the sale of goods and services by a passionate community of individuals and small businesses. On any given day, there are millions of items listed on the site across thousands of categories. eBay enables trade on a local, national and international basis with local sites in 60 markets in the United States and country-specific sites in the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, Austria, France, Italy, Japan, Korea and Australia. With the acquisition of in July 2000, eBay's community now benefits from a marketplace combining traditional auction-style trading and's set-price trading.

Prepared by Robin Cover for The XML Cover Pages archive.

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