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EBay Latest to Drop Microsoft’s Passport

December 31, 2004

NEW YORK (AP) — EBay Inc. became the latest Web site to say it will stop using Microsoft Corp. (MSFT)’s Passport user authentication system, as Microsoft continues to scale back the service.

Microsoft once had big plans for Passport, which was designed to let Internet users have a single “username” and password that could be used on the Web sites of many different companies. It originally also stored credit card numbers in an attempt to make shopping at several sites more convenient, but Microsoft phased that out last year.

Passport will remain the login technology used on Microsoft’s own sites, including the free e-mail service Hotmail and the Encarta encyclopedia, but the company will no longer pursue its incorporation on a broad collection of outside sites.

Microsoft acquired the Passport technology when it bought Firefly Network Inc., a software company, in 1998. Passport’s strategic advantage was in guiding users to Microsoft-owned sites.

However, relatively few companies deployed Passport, and some privacy advocates bristled at the technology. Others feared it would give Microsoft too much sway over the Internet.

This fall, online job posting service Monster Worldwide Inc. (MNST) stopped using Passport. EBay, which is based in San Jose, Calif., this week announced it would drop it in late January.

Microsoft once gave Passport a good bit of attention, but it was last mentioned in one of the Redmond, Wash., software giant’s annual reports in 2000.

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On the Net:

Microsoft: http://www.microsoft.com

eBay: http://www.ebay.com




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