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Microsoft begins testing Windows Marketplace

The online shopping and download center for Windows-related stuff gets a public workout.

Microsoft said on Thursday that it has begun publicly testing its , an online shopping and download center for hardware and software related to its Windows operating system.

The software maker announced plans for the service in July. It said Thursday a final version is scheduled to launch in "the next couple of months," once the company gets enough feedback from early users. Microsoft's partner for the site is CNET Networks, publisher of