Microsoft Beefs Up MSN's Shopping Features
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Financial terms of the CompareNet acquisition were not disclosed.
The new initiative includes a comprehensive shopping directory built through the use of BizTalk, a new e-commerce framework developed by Microsoft.
Microsoft said it wants to create "the ultimate consumer shopping environment, bringing together millions of buyers and sellers."
"These MSN services will allow marketers to reach motivated buyers in ways not possible previously through online or print media efforts," the company said.
"Microsoft is extremely committed to enabling e-commerce between consumers and businesses and continuing to expand the e-commerce services on MSN," said Bob Herbold, Microsoft's executive vice president and chief operating officer.
"Enhanced marketplace services will allow consumers to do some of the fastest, smartest shopping they've ever done, and sellers to promote their goods and services, reaching millions of customers with great impact. The CompareNet acquisition will be instrumental in helping us take the next big step toward delivering on this vision."
Enhanced services will enable customers to search for merchants that carry specific products, seek out current promotions, or request notification when products or services of interest are available at a special price.
BizTalk will enable Internet-based and "brick-and-mortar" merchants and manufacturers of all sizes and to participate in MSN by giving them a common format for publishing information about their businesses, products and promotions to MSN and other consumer marketplaces on the Web. The service will be platform independent.
Microsoft Commerce Server and Small Business Commerce Services will provide native support for the BizTalk framework. The BizTalk effort is supported at launch by 800-FLOWERS, barnesandnoble.com, Best Buy Online Inc., Dell Computer Corp., Eddie Bauer Inc., Office Depot Inc. and Sharp Electronics Corp.