There was a good article on eBay in the FT on Thursday 8th February.
The CEO, Meg Whitman, talks about the key players in the Internet world, their strategy, and explain how good the future will be for eBay. 2006 is the year of synergies and consolidation.
Ebay, key facts
* Creation date: Founded in September 1995 by Pierre Omidyar
* Mission: provide a global trading platform where practically anyone can trade practically anything
* Nb of registered users:
* Volume of sales every year:
* Merchandise at fixed prices: 34%
* Acquisitions: PayPal in 2002, Skype in 2005, and huge investments on its own search engine
* eBay Sites: Half.com, Kijiji, PayPal, Skype, ProStores, Rent.com and Shopping.com
Ebay sees Google, Yahoo, Amazon divergence
The four dominant internet groups - Google, Yahoo, eBay and Amazon - will increasingly focus on their core activities rather than compete with each other head-on, according to Meg Whitman, eBay's chief executive. (...)
"I think we will end up specialising," she told the FT in an interview on Tuesday. "We have specialised in e-commerce, payment and voice communication. Google stands for search, Yahoo largely stands for content - so I think we may on the fringe compete, but I suspect that over time the businesses will become more specialised." (...)
I am really surprised by Meg's comments and vision. Indeed, her views contradict the widely held notion that the four internet giants will engage in increasingly fierce competition as they try to match their rivals' services.
Google is an obvious counter-example. They plan to compete against:
* eBay: Google recently launched Goggle Base, a classified advertisements website that puts the company in direct competition with eBay.
* Yahoo!: Google is targeting the Instant Messaging market and would then become a significant threat to Yahoo!
* Amazon: Google and Amazon are separately in talks with music industry executives about new digital music services that could break Apple’s grip on the fast-growing market for legal downloads. Google may bid for Napster, the now legal online music company.
2006: a year of consolidation & synergies for eBay
Ms Whitman said she had no plans for further big acquisitions this year, stressing that 2006 "is going to be a year of consolidating the Skype acquisition and leveraging the synergies between eBay, PayPal and Skype".
She said: "Skype has 200,000 new users a month. We would like a lot of those people to have PayPal accounts, so there's a nice synergy there. We also want to expand Skype buttons on eBay [which allow users to contact each other by clicking on them]."The reason we want to do that is that we want to increase the velocity of trade. If the buyer and seller can talk to each other, especially with high-end items, we think it can accelerate trade." (...)
If I understand the acquisition of Paypal: with eBay's incredible no of users, it helped Paypal to become the reference in the field of secured and convenient mean of payment on the Internet.
The synergy with Skype is not as obvious to me: even though it is a great once revolutionary service, I am not convinced it represents a way to make buyers and sellers come to an agreement more quickly!
New websites / Initiatives: eBay Express, Portero
* eBay Express: eBay plans to launch a specialty site where items would be available for immediate purchase. He says eBay hopes that the new site would attract customers who prefer a more conventional e-shopping experience. (more on BetaNews)
* Portero: (powered by eBay) Portero was founded in 2004 on the belief that buying luxury online should be effortless and without risk. They are committed to delivering trust, service and expertise to their auctions. And, they are the only online auction marketplace truly devoted to the luxury brand legacy as is evident in our product & brand selection, presentation and certification process. (more about Portero)