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12/30/2004
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eBay Dumps Passport, Microsoft Calls It Quits

eBay says it will soon drop support for Microsoft's Passport for log-in to the site and discontinuing alerts sent via Microsoft's .Net alerts.

Another Online auction site eBay announced Wednesday that it will soon drop support for Microsoft's Passport for log-in to the site and discontinuing alerts sent via Microsoft's .Net alerts. Microsoft responded by saying that it will stop marketing Passport to sites outside its own stable.

As of late January, eBay will no longer display the Passport button on sign-in pages nor allow users to log in using their Passport accounts. Instead, members must log-in directly through eBay.

Likewise, eBay's dumping .Net alerts, which means that eBay customers who want to receive alerts -- for such things as auction closings, outbids, and auction wins -- will have to make other arrangements. The free-of-charge eBay Toolbar, for instance, can be used to set up alerts going to the desktop, while alerts to phones, PDAs, or pagers can be created from the user's My eBay page.

eBay was one of the first to jump on the Passport bandwagon in 2001, but is only the latest site to leap off. Job search site Monster.com, for instance, dropped Passport in October.

Microsoft has decided to stop marketing its sign-on service to other Web sites, the Los Angeles Times confirmed Thursday. The pull-back, which had been long predicted by various analysts, follows a stormy life for Passport, which among other things, suffered a pair of security breakdowns in the summer of 2003 that could have led to hackers stealing users' IDs.

Microsoft also pulled its online directory of sites using Passport -- perhaps because the list would have been depressingly short -- stating in the online notice that "We have discontinued our Site Directory, but you'll know when you can use your Passport to make sign-in easier. Just look for the .NET Passport Sign In button!"

Passport will continue to be the sign-on service for various Microsoft properties, including the Hotmail e-mail service and MSN.com.

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