Microsoft has become an ICANN-accredited domain registrar, giving it the ability to sell domains directly to its customers. Microsoft has been reselling domain names from Melbourne IT, a registrar based in Australia that also provides wholesale domains to Yahoo and other hosting providers.
Microsoft's could use its new status to sell domain names for its Office Live small business hosting service, which is scheduled to come out of beta on Nov. 15 and provides a free domain name with each account. This would probably save Microsoft money on each domain sold, as wholesalers like Melbourne IT typically charge a small mark-up over the base fees from the central registry.
But not all companies that gain ICANN accreditation use it to sell their own domains. Google became a registrar last year but has yet to sell domain names to the public, preferring to use its status to focus on reducing spammy domains from its search results. Amazon.com also has ICANN accreditation, but has not pursued retail domain sales.