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May 27, 2006

(phew) The week in review

Last week was the most news-worthy week of 2006 as far as eBay, Google and Yahoo! (and let’s not forget MSN).  Here’s a quick recap with some editorial thoughts:

  • JPMorgan analyst Imran Khan predicted internet consolidation and put forth some very interesting financials
  • While at the Goldman Sachs conference, eBay and Yahoo! Announced their paypal/ad-selling partnership
  • Noto had some really interesting points, the biggest of which is the firm with search, ecommerce, voip, payments and email will be very strong because it will have the most interactions with a consumer as they do their favorite tasks on the web (sounds like eBay+Yahoo! or MSN).
  • Meg covered the details at her fireside chat with Noto, and answered some Q+A
    • There were many questions about stores in search (SIS) and store inventory format (SIF)
    • I got the feeling a store price increase is coming

  • At GS, Yusef Medhi said there could be some “transformative” acquisitions soon.
    • The NYPost revealed that MSN and eBay have been in talks but they recently cooled.
  • Also during the conference, the Google/Dell deal was announced.
    • During Eric Schmidt’s fireside chat, when asked if eBay is a competitor he answered: “Heaven’s NO!!!” and he said that everyone benefits from a strong eBay.
    • He also suggested that Google will be working with PayPal soon on Google’s payment/checkout system:
      • “PayPal could one day become a payment method within Google's system, much as Yahoo agreed to do under the pact it announced with eBay Thursday, he said.”

What does all this mean?  Well we’re entering a very interesting phase of the “clash of the titans” as I like to call it.  Relationships are being formed, alliances started and the big fish will gobble up the little fish.

Would Yahoo! still work with eBay if owned by MSN?  Doubtful.  Would Google see eBay as a friend if part of Y! or MSN?  Doubtful. Could Google enter what looks almost (ironically) like a bidding war for eBay?

The three most interesting points from all this:

  1. During Meg’s chat, and discussions on SIS/SIF she hinted to a price increase in stores (more on this later)
  2. Several analysts I talked with didn’t have a rosy view of the eBay/Yhoo partnership (more on this later too)
  3. Meg revealed that a company called gmarket is their big competitor in korea that’s been taking share.

It would be really interesting to see what this looks like behind the scenes. For example, did the eBay/Yahoo! partnership announcement help or hurt the MSN talks?  Does this pull Google into the mix?  Why did Microsoft leak this to the NYPost or did they do it on purpose?

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