Rumors, Conspiracies, etc.

by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
e-commerce, mergers

amazon, ebay

Should eBay Merge With Amazon?

from the growth-strategy-or-trouble-ahead? dept

Saul Hansell over at the NY Times has a thought-provoking piece asking if Amazon should buy eBay. While the two have been competitors for some time, Hansell is exactly right in pointing out that Amazon has continued to innovate and adapt, while eBay has basically held steady. eBay built up a tremendous business and has basically managed to keep that going without killing it -- but has done little of note that's new or interesting in a long time. It's recent purchases have been rather hard to understand, from Skype to Stumbleupon, and so far, haven't helped eBay very much at all. Meanwhile, Amazon keeps on innovating, improving its overall shopping experience while successfully moving into offering a variety of compelling web services (made even more compelling with the recent addition of its new database offering).

The real question might be what would Amazon do with eBay if it controlled it. There's something to be said for just having access to all those eBay users -- but could Amazon then turn them (and eBay itself) into something even more compelling? Or would tinkering with eBay be more trouble than it's worth? It might also raise questions about what Amazon would do with Skype. If anything, it seems like any such move would be quite risky. Merging two large companies with unique cultures is astoundingly difficult and often causes a lot more problems than bargained for. Amazon has been trying out a lot of innovative things lately, and trying to digest a company like eBay would risk a tremendous distraction that could hurt those projects.

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  1. icon
    Nick (profile), 17 Dec 2007 @ 5:43pm

    Here is an idea: eBay should hire Amazon to re-make their entire service from the ground up and include new Amazon-like features and an easier to use API, and then Amazon should buy eBay if/when the upgrade makes a difference. Win/win for both companies and customers. Then Amazon will integrate Skype into their web services somehow. As for Stumbleupon, I', not sure how it can be added to the strategy of either company.

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