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Microsoft picks up new .Net partner

Auction network uBid will become the premier provider of content and products on a new auction channel due to debut on MSN.

Microsoft has lined up another partner for its .Net technology, with CMGI's uBid auction network agreeing to use the software giant's Passport authentication service and other Internet services.

uBid will become the "premier provider" of content and products on a new auction channel that will debut on MSN later this month, Microsoft said.

The uBid deal is not exclusive. Microsoft signed an agreement with auction powerhouse eBay in March, which involved sharing technology, including eBay's support of Microsoft's .Net Web services.

Microsoft's "Web services" refers to a series of protocols designed to help different software applications communicate with one another.

Microsoft's MSN site has no direct link to auctions right now, but a search for the word sends consumers to uBid products.

The Passport service allows people to set up an account containing identification and billing information, which can be used at multiple sites. The technology is designed to make online commerce easier for consumers. But it has faced criticism from privacy advocates who argue that Microsoft is not adequately protecting consumer data.

Installing Passport on uBid will allow a customer to view account information, sign up for credit cards, and place bids without having to log on to the service multiple times. The service is scheduled to go live Tuesday.

see special report: Web services: The new buzz In addition to the Passport service, uBid will use .Net Alerts, which will allow individuals to receive auction data on different devices. It will also use Microsoft's .Net Enterprise servers to run its Web site and services.

uBid will feature products available on Microsoft's bCentral small-business site, the companies said.