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EBay bypasses the browser

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Associated Press / February 25, 2008

SAN FRANCISCO - EBay Inc.'s customers don't need to open a Web browser to search the site or auction an item anymore.

After a quick download, the online auctioneer's users can click the company's logo on their desktop and launch an application that will allow them to do their business directly - no browser required.

EBay is one of several companies, including Nasdaq Stock Market Inc., Time Warner Inc.'s AOL, Nickelodeon and Salesforce.com Inc., that have created downloadable, desktop versions of their Web sites using software developed by Adobe Systems Inc.

Adobe is launching the application, called AIR, on Monday. Adobe says AIR will allow any company with a Web site to inhabit a permanent spot on people's desktops.

It also reduces the wait time for downloading images and data, because the desktop is constantly updated while the computer is online.

Adobe says AIR runs on any operating system. It's a more powerful version of widgets, the customizable little Web pullouts often provided by third parties like Google Inc.

The AIR application removes any kind of go-between, giving companies a direct, constant and versatile link to the consumer, said Adrian Ludwig, a spokesman for Adobe.

"The browser was in the way and the widget, in some instances, was in the way," Ludwig said. "It's the willingness to let the brand of the person providing the application to take front and center."

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