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N+I: Ebay and Accenture to launch joint venture

Retailers, distributors and manufacturers will be able to sell excess or discontinued inventory more efficiently through eBay's online marketplace when the auction service teams up with consulting company Accenture to launch a new service later this year.

The "Connection to eBay" service, announced by both companies at Networld+Interop, will be owned and operated by Bermuda-based Accenture and will offer services such as customer service, checkout, payment and fulfillment processes as well as sales strategies. It will let the sellers tap into eBay's marketplace of almost 46 million registered users and simplify the way they sell unwanted inventory.

Traditionally, companies have sold excess and outdated products through complicated processes involving intermediaries, multiple distribution points and numerous transactions. Accenture estimates US companies sell almost $80bn ($55bn) worth of such inventory every year.

As a result of the economic downturn California-based eBay has recently become a popular source of used computer and networking equipment.

"Connection to eBay" has been in limited testing with some "end-of-life" computer equipment on the eBay site. It will expand to selected clients later this year and be fully rolled out by the end of this year.

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