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MS, American Express go on road

American Express and Microsoft will develop an Internet travel service.

Microsoft is expected to provide an online travel reservation system for American Express corporate customers under a partnership announced today.

The service will provide American Express clients with reservation and purchasing information for hotels and major airline and rental car companies. Microsoft is using information provided by Worldspan, a group of airlines that includes Northwest, TWA, and Delta.

American Express already licenses Internet security software from Microsoft, as well as software that allows American Express corporate card users to tabulate data about their spending patterns.

Other companies already offer similar corporate electronic services or have plans for them. Among the companies Microsoft will be competing with are Internet Travel Network and Travelocity.

American Express has already sought to expand its travel business through a retail service called ExpressNet, which is available through America Online and the ITN Web site.