A deal between Microsoft Corp. and eBay Inc. announced last week could give developers an easier way to add auctioning and e-commerce capabilities to their Internet applications. In the process, the partnership will enable both companies to expand their roles as toll collectors on the Web.
Under the alliance, eBay, of San Jose, Calif., will offer its commerce engine API to Web developers as a Simple Object Access Protocol-based, Extensible Markup Language Web service on the .Net platform.
In addition, eBay will deploy Windows 2000 Server on all of its front-end Web servers and will offer its users the ability to register and sign in on eBay using Microsofts Passport Internet authentication service. eBay will not replace its Oracle Corp. back-end database with Microsofts SQL Server database, eBay officials said.
Microsoft, of Redmond, Wash., will use eBay services to incorporate the trading functionality of eBays online marketplace into several Internet properties, including MSN.com, the Carpoint online automotive site, WebTV and the bCentral small-business portal.
By driving Internet traffic through the eBay commerce engine and Microsoft Passport service, both companies will be able to collect new licensing and transaction revenues.
Some .Net beta users said the deal validates their decision to work with the emerging platform.
"This shows great momentum because eBay is a sophisticated e-commerce system, and for them to use and endorse .Net is definitely a great case study to show that .Net can scale," said Dean Guida, president and CEO of Infragistics Inc., in Cranbury, N.J. "This will help developers gain confidence in the .Net platform."
For eBay, the .Net deal is one of several ways it is working to expand its Web presence.
In a keynote address at the Internet World show here last week, CEO Meg Whitman said eBay has not ruled out doing similar deals for Java developers.
Whitman hinted that eBay could use its transaction engine as an entree into business-to-business services. She said she expects eBay to announce partnerships with retailers and others that manage excess inventory and overstocks within the next nine months. "These are a natural extension," Whitman said.