Users will have access to a new hardware and software store, accessible from Internet Explorer and the Start menu on Windows XP. Microsoft introduced Windows Marketplace, an upcoming shopping and downloading site that will provide customers with one-stop access to software, hardware and peripherals that work with the Windows platform. The company says that this new offering provides a cost-effective way for participating partners to work with Microsoft and CNET Networks to gain exposure to millions of potential customers through online shopping and electronic software distribution. Windows Marketplace is scheduled to launch to end-user customers in the United States this fall.
CNET Networks is expected to provide Windows Marketplace pricing and product information for over 100,000 hardware, software and peripherals products. CNET's network of merchants numbers in the hundreds and includes major players such as Dell Inc., hpshopping.com, IBM Corp., Fujitsu Computer Products of America Inc., IbuyDigital.com Inc., Sony Electronics Inc., BUY.COM Inc., Best Buy Company Inc., Circuit City Stores Inc. and TigerDirect Inc. CNET download.com is expected to provide approximately 20,000 downloadable software products that support Windows.
Windows Marketplace also will offer increased insight into what customers are saying about partners' products through community features such as ratings, reviews and moderated discussion groups.