Thu, Jul 19th 2007 3:08am
eBay has reported its latest quarterly earnings, and like Intel's latest results, they offer something of a mixed bag. eBay's revenues and profits are up strongly, but its auction business is stagnating. While it showed revenue growth in the quarter, that's attributed to currency effects and increased commissions for sellers, rather than growth in the number of listings or the value of goods sold. eBay's been able to generate growth by expanding its scope of operations, which is certainly helpful, but the weakness in its core auctions business remains a concern. Questions still remain about some of those expanded operations: for instance, though Skype's earnings grew, usage is flat. But perhaps the bigger problem for eBay is that it's struggling to get the new units to feed off of each other. Buying PayPal was a masterstroke for the company, since a simple and comprehensive payments system delivers benefits to (and derives benefits from) the auctions business. But other new businesses don't integrate so well. Part of the justification for buying Skype was to ease communications between eBay auctions' buyers and sellers, but that hasn't panned out, or turned into a money-spinner. Similarly, some observers say the US launch of its Kijiji classifieds site will drive usage of Skype and PayPal, but judging by the Skype acquisition, that's far from being a sure thing. Clearly eBay's got the ability to get some M&A work done, but its ability to meaningfully integrate its purchases to spur growth among its other businesses still isn't so clear.
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