Details of a Microsoft designed marketplace called Project Brazil which never came to fruition have appeared online. Revealed by The Wall Street Journal, the Amazon rival was actually very close to release, but stumbled at the last minute.

The plan was to create a marketplace for retailers and technology companies to sell products all under one single shopping cart. There would be broad shipping options, just like with eBay. The real trick though would be Microsoft's move to subsidise goods using profits made from advertising on Bing.

Project Brazil has been acknowledged by Microsoft, but the company is yet to reveal why it was never put into practice.

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

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

The shopping network would have been included as software for Windows 8 computers and was even planned for launch on things like the Xbox 360 and Xbox One, as well as Windows Phone 8 devices.

Who knows, it could eventually become a reality. Microsoft is already building partners with its Bing Shopping network. The next logical step would be to put all sales under one roof and allow companies to use the access Microsoft can bring to different devices.

If Microsoft were to launch the network, it would find itself up against pretty strong competition from Amazon, which has a 26 per cent share of the US e-commerce market.

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