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Craigslist and eBay Get Their Day in Court

Meg Whitman, former eBay chief executive, took the witness stand today to make her case that Craigslist unfairly denied the Internet auction giant a seat on its board. Whitman, currently running for the seat of governor of California, spent several hours detailing the negotiations that led to her company’s investment in Craigslist, and the eventual falling out that occurred between her and the classified ad company’s top executives.

The founders of Craigslist and eBay, Craig Newmark and Pierre Omidyar, will be called soon after to give their accounts of the events. EBay claims to want to shed light on the “coercive plan” that it believes Newmark hatched with Craigslist Chief Executive Jim Buckmaster in order to dilute eBay’s ownership stake, which ultimately stripped eBay of its seat on the Craigslist board.

In response, Craigslist has shot back that eBay was using its board seat in order to glean information for launching its own classified site, Kijiji. Craigslist also claims that eBay knowingly used deceptive tactics to direct traffic away from Craigslist.com. After eBay’s 2004 purchase of shares from one of the classified site’s original investors, Whitman allegedly maintained that Craigslist would become eBay’s “play in classifieds.”

But the worst of it all, Craigslist says, is that eBay never revealed its plans to develop its own classified site, Kijiji, which it launched internationally in 2005 and in the United States in 2007. Courtesy of wired.com


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