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Microsoft Says Looked at Connecting Search, Shopping

Microsoft Corp. recently canceled an early stage project looking at ways to combine its Bing Web search with shopping, the company said without explaining why the effort was abandoned.

“The project was a small scale incubation effort to enable a more direct commerce model between customers and brands and merchants,” the largest software maker said in a statement. “The project was recently canceled, but we remain committed to finding new and differentiated ways to enable a richer, more task-oriented approach to e-commerce and online advertising.”

Microsoft’s Bing search engine, which lags market-dominating rival Google Inc., has experimented for several years with shopping programs, including an effort that ended in 2010 which gave customers cash back on purchases. Besides increasing search traffic, Microsoft has looked at options for bolstering an ailing display advertising business.

The project, called Brazil, and its cancellation were reported earlier by the Wall Street Journal, which described it as effort to compete with online retailer Inc. and Web marketplace EBay Inc.

Microsoft, based in Redmond, Washington, said in its statement that it’s “inaccurate to characterize Project Brazil as conceived to compete with Amazon or EBay.”

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