Microsoft recently toyed with the idea of building an e-commerce marketplace that would have competed with the likes of Amazon and eBay. People with knowledge of the plans said Redmond held talks with retailers as well as other tech companies about all sorts of ideas like a unified shopping cart and broad shipping options but ultimately, the plans fizzled.
The incubation, as a Microsoft spokesperson told The Wall Street Journal, was called Project Brazil – no doubt a reference to Amazon. Microsoft was even planning to subsidize the cost of goods using advertising dollars from Bing. We are told the service would have been integrated into future versions of Windows as well as on tablets and eventually, other devices like the Xbox One.
It’s unclear exactly when or why Microsoft pulled the plug on Project Brazil. While it might have been a good idea for customers looking to save a few bucks, it probably wasn’t in Microsoft’s best interest to move forward with the project. Considering that Microsoft accounted for less than four percent of all search ad revenue in 2012, subsidizing the price of goods might not have worked out so well.
We do know, however, that Microsoft is very interested in a task-oriented and direct approach to online commerce as well as online advertising. Furthermore, the idea of an online marketplace demonstrates the fact that Microsoft is actively on the hunt for more revenue and If there’s one industry that’s ripe for the picking, it’s the billion dollar a year e-commerce industry.