Report: Microsoft, Dell, Others to Challenge eBay

A consortium of high-tech companies looks to take on online Auction giant E-Bay

An alliance of nearly 100 high-tech companies, including Microsoft Corp., Dell Computer Corp., Lycos Inc. and Excite@Home is reportedly preparing to take on online auction giant, eBay Inc.

A network that will share each site's auction listings is being established through FairMarket, Inc. and will be announced on Monday, according to various reports including one from The Wall Street Journal.

Rather than creating one mega-site, each site will remain independent, according to the report. For example, a listing for a clock posted on the Lycos site will subsequently appear in the Microsoft auction site as well.

Eventually the site posting an item sold will receive 1 percent of the sale and which ever site actually sells the item will also get a cut of 1 percent, with FairMarket getting 1 percent share as well. Excite@Home and Lycos will not charge fees at first, though Microsoft will, The Wall Street Journal reported.

EBay has retained dominance in the online action market despite challenges from newly launched auction sites at Yahoo Inc., Amazon.com Inc. and Microsoft's MSN. The auctioner's well publicized recent technical problems, however, may have increased eBay's vulnerability.

By pooling its considerable resources, the new auction alliance hopes to match or beat eBay's nearly 3.5 million reserve of products for sale. FairMarket currently oversees auction sites for Lycos, Dell and CompUSA.

FairMarket, Inc., located in Woburn, Massachusetts, can be contacted at +1-781-935-7090, or http://www.fairmarket.com/. Microsoft, located in Redmond, Washington, can be contacted at +1-425-882-8080 or http://www.microsoft.com. Dell, located in Round Rock, Texas, can be contacted at +1-512-338-4400, or http://www.dell.com/. Lycos, based in Waltham, Massachusetts, can be contacted at +1-781-370-2700, or http://www.lycos.com/. Excite@Home, located in Redwood City, California, can be contacted at +1-650-556-5000, or http://www.home.net/. EBay, located in San Jose, California, can be contacted at +1-408-558-7400 or at http://www.ebay.com.

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