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Microsoft links Office with eBay

Microsoft and eBay have 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 analyse sales and upload multiple listings at once, according to Microsoft.

FrontPage users will be able to display information from eBay on websites created using the Microsoft software.

"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 capabilities in the 2003 editions of Excel and FrontPage, and web services application programming interfaces made available by eBay.

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.

For FrontPage, the tools package includes web design and maintenance tools and customisable data views that display multiple item listings from eBay.

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

Joris Evers writes for IDG News Service

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