.Net Alerts service revs

Microsoft will announce next week a new business Internet service, tied to its .Net strategy, that will allow eBay and other Web sites to contact and send messages to customers via PCs, cell phones and other handheld devices.

Microsoft plans to say that it has signed 20 companies to a new Web-based service, called .Net Alerts, according to sources close to the company. The service will notify subscribers of everything from updated sports scores to the shipping status of goods they've bought online. In the case of eBay, the online auction site can send buyers messages about the status of items they've bid on.

The new service is an element in Microsoft's forthcoming package of Web-based services, called .Net My Services. The company next year plans to offer content, shopping, banking, entertainment and other Internet services through a variety of devices, all linked to Microsoft's Passport authentication service, which houses a host of Web surfer information. It's part of the company's larger .Net strategy for shifting computing tasks online.

The alerts service will be the first .Net service that a computer user will be able to see and use.

While many of the .Net My Services features are aimed at consumers, .Net Alerts is expected to be the first of many Web services aimed at businesses, sources said.

"Microsoft's aim is to be in as many places and touch as many people's lives as they can," Forrester Research analyst Kyle Johnson said.

A Microsoft representative declined to comment.

The 20 participating companies will either announce plans to implement the service or are currently adding the new .Net service to their sites. News of the technology has been hinted at for some time as part of Microsoft's .Net thrust and associated alliances with the likes of eBay. The alerts have also been demonstrated in conjunction with previews of the Windows XP operating system.

News source: ZDnet

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