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Microsoft and eBay link together

Microsoft Corp. and eBay Inc. on Monday delivered tools that enable links between the 2003 editions of Excel and FrontPage and the eBay online auction service.

The tools are meant for developers to create applications that will allow frequent users of eBay's service to manage their auctions using Excel, including the ability to analyze sales and upload multiple listings at once, according to Microsoft. FrontPage users will be able to display information from eBay on Web sites created using FrontPage, Microsoft said.

"This is not something the typical user who wants to sell a couple of CDs or concert posters on eBay would use," said Gytis Barzdukas, director of Office product management at Microsoft.

The links between Office and eBay were first demonstrated by Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates at the Office 2003 launch last year. Microsoft and eBay are now delivering the tools to make the links between their products happen.

The tools take advantage of XML (Extensible Markup Language) capabilities in the 2003 editions of Excel and FrontPage, and Web services APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) made available by eBay, according to Microsoft.

For Excel developers, the tools package includes an inventory staging component and an automated listing section. Sample code demonstrating eBay listing management capabilities is also included, according to Microsoft.

For FrontPage the tools package includes Web design and maintenance tools and customizable data views that display multiple item listings and browse by name from eBay, Microsoft said.

The tool set for Office 2003 will be offered on eBay's developer Web site (http://www.developer.ebay.com) and the Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) site. EBay will offer it first, starting on Monday, and membership to the eBay Developers Program is free, Microsoft said.

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