Microsoft Explored Plans to Build Amazon Rival

Microsoft Corp. recently explored rolling out an e-commerce marketplace aimed at taking on heavyweights Amazon.com Inc. and eBay Inc., according to people briefed on the company’s plans.

The software giant held discussions with retailers and technology companies about a marketplace, proposing to equip it with an array of merchants, as well as a unified shopping cart and broad shipping options, according to these people. To lure shoppers, Microsoft was considering subsidizing the price of goods on its e-commerce service using a portion of advertising dollars merchants spend on Microsoft’s Bing Web-search engine or elsewhere, said the people.

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