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Industry Internet, Software, Electronic Commerce, Pen-Based Computing
Fate Acquired by Microsoft in June, 1996
Founded 1991 (1991)
Founder Arnold Blinn, Matt Kursh, Pierre Omidyar, Will Poole, Greg Stein
Headquarters San Mateo, CA

eShop (formerly known as Ink Development Corporation) was a company founded in May, 1991. It was started as a software company to develop products for Go Corporation's PenPoint operation system. In later years, it developed software for the Windows for Pen Computing and Magic Cap platforms. In 1993, it was renamed to eShop and developed electronic commerce software, focusing primarily on the "business-to-consumer" marketplace.

eShop was acquired by Microsoft in June, 1996,[1] where eShop's technology formed the basis of Microsoft Merchant Server.


  • InkWare NoteTaker
  • InkWare Photo
  • eShop Plaza

Other, unreleased and/or little-known software included ports of SimCity to the PenPoint and Magic Cap platforms, a custom shared whiteboarding application that operated over a low-baud-rate telephone system, a Telescript-based shopping system for AT&T's PersonalLink service, and a post-it note system for PenPoint.

eShop Plaza[edit]

eShop Plaza was a custom client/server system. Users installed a Windows application that connected to the eShop servers through the old X.25 CompuServe and Sprint networks. The application was called the "eShop Browser" and allowed users to browse stores within the Plaza. At launch, this included stores such as Insight Enterprises, Tower Records, 1-800-Flowers, Spiegel, and Good Guys.

In 1995, the eShop Browser was updated to allow for connections through users' existing Internet connections.

Lost opportunity[edit]

Pierre Omidyar is the most notable founder of eShop. He left the company in the fall of 1994 to begin work at General Magic. Pierre had discussed the importance and his desire to be involved in "consumer-to-consumer" commerce, but since eShop was only interested in business-to-consumer market, his ideas were never picked up. Pierre would later launch eBay.


  1. ^ Microsoft Acquires eShop (press release)

External links[edit]