Whitman Says eBay Wanted All of Craigslist

Former eBay CEO, founder testify in Delaware court

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Meg Whitman took a break from the campaign trail to defend eBay over dueling lawsuits with Craigslist.

    The lawsuits between eBay and Craigslist -- over the auction giant's stake in the online classifieds venture -- promise to reveal plenty of details about the relationships between the two companies and their principals, if yesterday's testimony in a Delaware courtroom is any indication.

    Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman said that the company made no secret of its interest in buying Craigslist outright, but instead had to settle for a minority stake.

    eBay's lawsuit accuses Craigslist cofounder Craig Newmark and CEO Jim Buckmaster of then conspiring to illegally dilute that stake in order to keep eBay from having a seat on the company's board of directors.

    Craigslist filed a countersuit accusing eBay of trying to steal confidential information in order to help a competing online classifieds site, Kijiji, which eBay launched after acquiring a stake in Craigslist.

    Whitman denied that allegation, and also said that the noncompete agreement Craigslist asked for was a "deal breaker."

    Pierre Omidyar, eBay's founder, quit his post on Craigslist's board of directors in frustration after his ideas on how to maximize profits weren't well received.

    "I was never trusted and my counsel was never sought," Omidyar testified in court.

    That worried Whitman. "To be honest, I was starting to get concerned, because really nobody doesn't like Pierre." Omidyar, who does have the reputation as one of the genuinely nice guys in Silicon Valley, now runs a philanthropic venture, the Omidyar Network.

    Newmark and Buckmaster are also expected to take the stand as the trial continues.

    Jackson West thinks Craigslist probably did screw eBay over, but for the right reasons -- namely, eBay was greedy.