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Strategic Practice Exercise

In: Business and Management

Submitted By ellaisalazar
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Pierre Omidyar founded a sole proprietorship in September 1995 called Auction Web to allow people to buy and sell goods over the Internet. The new venture was based on the idea of developing a community-driven process, where an organic, evolving, self-organizing web of individual relationships, formed around shared interests, would handle tasks that other companies handle with customer service operations. By May 1996, Omidyar had added Jeff Skoll as a partner and the venture was incorporated as eBay. Two years later, Omidyar asked Meg Whitman to direct corporate strategy to continue the accelerated growth rate of the company. Whitman brought to the company global management and marketing experience and soon became President and CEO. In almost no time, the company became one of the Web’s most successful sites, with 233 million registered users. By 2007, the average eBay user spent nearly two hours a month on the site—more than five times the time spent on Amazon.com. Whitman expanded the company’s operations and spent more than $6 billion to acquire companies, such as Internet phone operation Skype, online payments service PayPal, ticket reseller StubHub, property rental and roommate search firm Rent.com, comparison shopping site Shopping.com, Web site recommender Stumbleupon, and 25% interest in Craigslist. Expansion and diversification provided revenue and profit growth plus stock price appreciation. Although financial analysts wondered how all these businesses would fit together, Whitman argued that she wanted eBay to be everywhere users wanted to be. At developer conferences, company representatives unveiled new services that let buyers shop for and purchase eBay items outside of the core eBay.com site.
By 2008, eBay was in trouble. Its stock price had lost half its value over the past three years. The core auction and retail businesses, which accounted for the…...

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