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June 21, 2013

Microsoft Scrapped Plans for Online Marketplace: Report

Microsoft 3Microsoft recently scrapped plans to launch its own e-commerce site, says a report in the Wall Street Journal.

According to the article, “people briefed on the company’s plans” said Microsoft was in the early stages of launching an online marketplace, even going as far as to hold meetings with potential business partners.

The plan was to offer a variety of merchants, a unified shopping cart and broad shipping options, says the Journal.

“To lure shoppers, Microsoft was considering subsidizing the price of goods on its e-commerce service using a portion of advertising dollars merchants spend on Microsoft’s Bing Web-search engine or elsewhere,” says the report.

While Microsoft isn’t commenting on why the project was cancelled, the company has indicated there was indeed an effort — codenamed “Brazil” — to build a marketplace that could potentially become part of Windows software for computers and eventually be integrated into its Xbox, tablet and Smartphone products.

“Project Brazil was an incubation to enable a more direct commerce model between customers and brands and merchants,” said a spokeswoman for Microsoft.

“We remain committed to finding new and differentiated ways to enable a richer, more task oriented approach to e-commerce and online advertising,” she said.

Microsoft has also come forward with a statement that early reports by Wall Street Journal claiming the company was taking aim at Amazon and eBay are false.

“”It is inaccurate to characterize Project Brazil as conceived to compete with Amazon or eBay,” the Microsoft spokesperson said in an e-mail to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Last year alone, Amazon dominated 26 percent of the $226 billion U.S. e-commerce market, says Wall Street.