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Ebay loses its head, wonders what the future holds

Auction giant and Internet pioneer Ebay will lose CEO Meg Whitman, its 10 year captain, in March 2008 and will be replaced by John Donahoe, a management consultant and president of eBay Marketplaces, CNN's Fortune reports (opens in new tab).

Ebay's growth has been fuelled mainly by its core services - Auction and has, in the past decade, made several acquisitions totalling more than USD 6 billion, with Skype's $ 2.6 billion taking the lion share.

In October, Ebay wrote off $1.43 billion after admitting that it had overpaid "drastically" for Skype; Ebay has yet to make a profit from Skype and has had issues to integrate Skype's feature into its core business.

Donahoe has been handled the difficult task of building on the impressive track record of Whitman; the former CEO managed to turn Ebay from a small company with only 30 employees into a multinational firm with revenues of $7.7 billion and 15,000 employees.

While Ebay has been reluctant to gradually expand beyond its original core offering, others such as Amazon or Google have been quick to target Ebay.

Both Google and Amazon have started to offer online payment services that are set to challenge Paypal's hegemony.

In addition, eBay announced that Rajiv Dutta, currently the President of PayPal, has been named Executive Vice President of eBay Inc. and will also replace Donahoe as President of eBay Marketplaces.

Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.