Thursday, April 06, 2006

Amazon, eBay, Yahoo! and Google converging

No matter how much they deny it, the big internet companies are increasingly entering each other's territory.

Originally, the big four had their own:
  • Amazon: (books) retailer
  • eBay: auctions (and retail)
  • Google: search engine and paid search
  • Yahoo!: portal, with search engine and paid search, as well as email and IM

We've seen quite some convergence so far:

  • Amazon: search (A9), content (movies, music downloads)
  • eBay: payments, VoIP, mobile payments, listings (through Craigslist)
  • Google: email, IM and VoIP, listings and classifieds (Google Base), payments, content (movies, music), comparison shopping (Froogle), WiFi, Office (Writely), portal (Finance), 5% stake in AOL
  • Yahoo!: comparison shopping, auctions, VoIP
Among the latest was eBay's efforts in China to set up an online store for an electronics retailer, Paradise Electronics Retail. That could easily have been a commission to

What next?
  • Look out for Amazon, with all their technology hires last year.
  • EBay remains focussed on trading/retailing, enhanced by payments and communications. At the same time, this makes them vulnerable.
  • Google is the most expansive of all, but it remains to be seen how well it can compete in new territories. So far, there is an overload of beta-products.
  • Yahoo! arguably has most to lose because of lack of focus and lack of original content. How hard is it to aggregate third party content? Google could add many verticals, after Google Finance.

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