Items of Interest: 2006.05.05

Things that I found interesting on May 5, 2006:

Ebay Scared of Google

Reuters (and the WSJ – Reg. Req.) is reporting that Ebay has:

had talks with both Yahoo Inc and Microsoft Corp to determine whether one of them might be a suitable ally against common threats from Google Inc

Apparently, they are scared because in the last year they have witnessed Google “assaulting its turf in multiple ways”.

I don’t know about you, but I think that Ebay’s poor performance recently should be attributed more to mistakes and lack of initiative on their part, rather than an invasion by Google:

  • The purchase of Skype, though risky and full of initiative, has yet to pay off for them in producing any sizable percentage of new revenue of users
  • Their basic interface and sales model has not changed in years. Though this is not something that is necessarily required, in Ebay’s case I think that a more user-friendly, intuitive and less-complicated design is in order.
  • The one thing that any Ebay user can count on is higher fees once or twice a year. Not a good way to keep your bulk customers
  • Does anyone really think that Google Base is eating into their marketshare? If they are, whose fault is that?

If anything, I think that the biggest threat right now is Craigslist. It is much easier to use, much more popular, and spreading like wildfire (and you can’t beat the price).

So what is their big solution to the “Google Threat”?

An alliance in which eBay would boost its advertising spending with its chosen partner and provide access to data it has collected about its consumers

I am sure that Google is quaking in their boots right now.

Items of Interest: 2006.04.21

Things I found interesting on April 21, 2006:

  • The Code Wont be Ready – Bruce Kroeze breaks the bad news to his soon-to-be former employers when they accepted a project they shouldn’t have
  • A Tour of Microsoft’s Mac Labs – Along with pictures (including 150 Mac Mini’s lined up, along with a graveyard of old retired Macs). (Via Scoble).
  • Visual Studio Express editions will now be free forever – Good news from Dan Fernandez (via Brad Wilson)
  • ATLAS not working well cross-browser – Review along with screenshots from Leland Scott (via Matthew Magain on Sitepoint, who makes a good point when he says “Unfortunately it’s difficult to take a lot of Scott’s reportage seriously, considering the blatant anti-Microsoft bias that shows through. Still, it’s the screenshots that tell the story…”). I also noticed some inconsistencies when testing out the control pack using Firefox. Still some room to grow…(and is still a better development environment for almost all online applications).
  • Google Hosted Email – Derek reviews his experience setting up and using the service
  • Ruby on Rails CMS Breakdown – Benjamin reviews five ROR Content Management System packages
  • Skype Bows to Chinese Censors – And joins the likes of Microsoft, Yahoo and Google. They are taking things a step farther by blocking certain words from appearing in text messages (!)