And the accusations continue flying fast and furious in the Delaware courthouse where the eBay v. Craigslist lawsuit is being heard. Yesterday saw testimony by Craigslist founder Craig Newmark, who essentially accused eBay of double-dealing, and then had to admit his own ... measured disclosures under cross-examination.
Newmark essentially said that eBay had led him and Craigslist down the garden path, with executives saying that they'd be happy with a minority stake at the time and that Craigslist was the way they wanted to get into the online classifieds business:
"We decided that eBay could be trusted, and we proceeded with the deal," he said, adding that eBay executives assured him that they shared Craigslist's community-oriented values.And then -- Oh, shock! Oh, horror! -- suddenly eBay was no longer the suitor claiming to be satisfied with holding hands and began pressing for a bigger stake and started acquiring online classified businesses in Europe. Good heavens, eBay was cheating on Craigslist. And, of course, Craigslist was completely taken aback, because it's only a community-oriented undertaking and not a real company with real revenue and investors, and so clearly allowed to be naÃ¯ve while doing business. (Mind you, Newmark actually used a dating and "Dear John" letter analogy.)
Protestations of corporate delicacy aside, the fun continued when eBay lawyers pressed Newmark about $9.5 million he received from the way stock was sold to eBay and the fact that he didn't tell members of Craigslist.
"You misled them time and again," [eBay attorney Michael Rhodes] told Newmark.Although eBay lawyer Brian Levey said on Wednesday that the company's using confidential information it got from Craigslist as a major investor so it could go into a competing business was fine because it didn't really violate the confidentiality agreement the two companies signed, apparently emails show that "eBay executives expected they would violate provisions of their shareholder agreement with Craigslist when eBay launched Kijiji in United States, and anticipated losing their Craigslist board seat as a result."
I said earlier in the week that I had no sympathy for eBay. I can't find much for Craigslist, either.
Image via stock.xchng user hisks, site standard license.