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Microsoft considered launching Project Brazil to rival Amazon

Amazon considered setting up a new e-commerce marketplace to challenge Amazon and eBay, according to sources cited by the Wall Street Journal.

The sources claimed that the software giant held discussions with retailers and technology firms, with the aim of launching a new merchant website with a unified shopping cart and a slew of shipping options.

Microsoft had planned to subsidise product costs via advertising funds from Bing, which would help jump-start the operation and lure customers away from established rivals. It was expected to launch on Windows and Windows Phone, but also eventually on Xbox consoles.

The new service was recently cancelled, however, with no reason given for the move. Likely it was deemed too risky an enterprise, given the dominance of Amazon and eBay.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about the idea is the name: Project Brazil. The majority of the Amazon rainforest is, of course, in Brazil, so Microsoft's codename clearly showed what company it was primarily targeting.

“Project Brazil was an incubation to enable a more direct commerce model between customers and brands and merchants,” said a Microsoft spokesperson.

“We remain committed to finding new and differentiated ways to enable a richer, more task oriented approach to e-commerce and online advertising.”