According to reports in the US, Amazon.com is working to develop web search technology that will compete against the likes of Google and Yahoo when it comes to directing consumers to merchandise online.
The internet retail company has set up a subsidiary called A9 to develop the search technology and is recruiting a host of software engineers, according to a report in the online edition of The Wall Street Journal.
In addition to creating and using the search service, Amazon also plans to market the A9 technology to other sites.
A spokeswoman for Amazon UK could not confirm the report, however, and said that she "had no idea" if it was true or not. Only representatives in Amazon's Seattle headquarters would be able to verify the story.
Amazon's purported foray into the e-commerce search service market comes on the heels of similar moves made by rivals such as Google, with its Froogle service, and Yahoo with its new product search, launched earlier this week.
The search services offer large advertising opportunities for the companies, in addition to helping direct consumers to their products.
According to the report, Amazon has interviewed candidates for about 30 positions at A9 in recent weeks and several staff have been hired with the expectation of starting work on the new technology next month.
Scarlett Pruitt writes for IDG News Service