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Mon Nov 6 2006 23:06:10

Is Competitor Behind eBay Rumors?

By: Ina Steiner

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The last paragraph in a post in today's VentureBeat blog made me think of the saying, "the enemy of my enemy is my friend." On Friday, Matt Marshall wrote that Alibaba was preparing to file another a lawsuit against competitor Qihoo and its leader, Zhou Hongyi. On Monday, Marshall wrote about Hongyi's response. Hongyi said Alibaba's Jack Ma has no proof of allegations he's made against him. "He said Ma is resorting to a desperate media campaign, knowing the charges won't hold in court."

The battle between Hongyi and Alibaba is not what's interesting, however. It's when Hongyi goes on to tell Marshall that Jack Ma has used a similar personal strategy against eBay's Meg Whitman and has tried to shake the confidence of eBay employees in China, including spreading rumors of eBay's departure from China. "He spread false rumors about Meg Whitman," Zhou said. "It's his strategy. He thinks, if he does this to someone long enough, they'll self-destruct."

I don't know anything about these allegations, however, I've seen the rhetoric from both sides. eBay knows how to talk to the press (some of you know my theory of "eBay Math" with regard to incidents of fraud, etc.), and Ma certainly knows how to talk the talk.

In fact, in the Alibaba-eBay wars, Whitman fired the first shots in June 2005, from what I could see. Here's a thought: perhaps eBay should have acquired Alibaba (word at the time was that they were in talks) instead of Skype - global domination might have finally been possible. (tongue in cheek)

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by: Helen

Tue Nov 7 06:43:29 2006

Fair point. I've no doubt both Jack Ma and Meg Whitman have/will use the media to spread uncertainty about each other. It's the cheapest way of sniping at each other without risking too much damage to their respective trading positions.

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