Microsoft is working on a new shopping Web site for software, hardware, and peripherals that it plans to advertise in the Windows XP Start Menu and the Internet Explorer Web browser.
Called "Windows Marketplace," the Web site is slated to go live for U.S. Windows users by year's end, according to Microsoft, which plans to officially announce the online store on Monday at its Worldwide Partner Conference in Toronto.
The Windows Marketplace will be a way for Microsoft partners to peddle their wares to the millions of Windows users, the Redmond, Washington-based software vendor says in a statement.
Providers that are expected to sell their products through the store include Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Circuit City Stores, Buy.com, and Best Buy Company, according to Microsoft. Products that have gained a "Designed for Windows" logo will be easier to find on the Web store through a special search filter, the software maker says.
Aside from advertising the online store in Windows, Microsoft plans to link to the site from its online properties. The link in Internet Explorer will be made through Windows XP Service Pack 2, which is expected out in the coming weeks. Also, the Start Menu link that currently points to the Windows Catalog will likely redirect to the Windows Marketplace in the future, a Microsoft spokesperson says.
The U.S. version of the Windows Marketplace will be maintained by online publishing company CNet Networks, which will provide product and pricing information for over 100,000 products. Software downloads will be offered through CNet's Download.com Web site, according to Microsoft.
Vendors who currently have a merchant relationship with CNet will be automatically included on the Windows Marketplace, as will products with that have been granted the designed for Windows logo, Microsoft said. Details on the relationship between Microsoft and CNet were not released.
Windows Marketplace is a U.S.-only initiative for now, however plans for international expansion are in the works, the spokesperson says.