by Rob Sullivan
If you are wondering where to buy Windows compatible hardware or software components, you may not need to look any further.
Microsoft recently announced a new addition to their online presence. A site called the Windows Marketplace, on which you can find hardware and software geared towards your Windows system.
In addition, the site offers freeware and shareware, as well as user forums (moderated by Microsoft employees). The site boasts more than 93,000 products from more than 200 merchants, even allowing competitors to sell products traditionally sold by Microsoft.
They even offer free downloads - such as desktop themes. In fact a search for the word "free" returns 98 pages of results. Of course, not all of the items on the 98 pages are free. Some have the word free in the listing, but there are a good number of free downloads, including games.
I have done a few quick searches on the site, and I must say that the results returned were not very good. I would hope they can fine tune the search in the coming months.
Although there were some products which I didn't easily find on the site, they do give the option to search the web (where you can even choose your engine), or shopping (where you can choose from a list of online vendors), which is handy. But it does give you an idea of what is available on the new shopping site.
My first thought is that as this shopping site grows, it could easily be integrated into MSN shopping, or even take over for MSN shopping.
If you are a hardware or software developer, the Windows Marketplace can offer you one more distribution channel for your products. Unfortunately you may have to be a Windows partner (that means you develop hardware or software for the Windows system and have it logo tested) in order to have your products listed on the main site, but there is an option to get your download listed if the product is already on a site like CNET's download.com.
If it isn't listed, then you can sign up at upload.com (a service of download.com) and get your product listed there.
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