Microsoft Corporation announced late Thursday that Expedia, Inc., its online travel service, has filed a registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission for an initial public offering of shares of its Common Stock. Following the initial public offering, Expedia, Inc. will become a separate company, but will have a contractual relationship with and be majority-owned by Microsoft, the company says. Expedia will continue to provide travel services on the MSN, Microsoft's Web portal.

Expedia is the number one travel resource on the Internet, offering one-stop travel shopping and reservation services, with scheduling, pricing and availability information for over 450 airlines, 40,000 hotels, and all major car rental companies.

Taken in the context of Microsoft's recent announcements and comments about its Internet properties, it seems that the company is making good on its intention to spin off its popular properties. Expedia joins CarPoint, Microsoft's other high-profile online success story, which begun its separation from the mothership last week