Blog Post

Craigslist Founder Newmark: I’ve Never Looked At eBay’s Classifieds Site

Craigslist CEO Craig Newmark (pictured, left) took the stand in the company’s court battle with eBay (NSDQ: EBAY) on Friday to deny that he ever looked at the auction site’s online classifieds unit, Kijiji, Reuters reported. Newmark sought to blunt charges that he had access to information about eBay’s classifieds business before it launched. The two companies have been engaged in legal jousting for the past year-and-a-half, since eBay sued Craigslist over “unfairly” diluting its ownership stake in the auctions site after eBay’s Kijiji debuted in the U.S. in 2007. In response, Craigslist brought a countersuit a month later, accusing eBay of using its minority stake in the Craigslist to steal its trade secrets.

Newmark’s testimony today and the e-mail evidence from eBay that were shown in court earlier this week demonstrated a wide cultural divide in their ill-fated partnership. As he often does, Newmark attempted to portray Craigslist as more of a community service as opposed to a business. He also emphasized his own personal discomfort with the trappings of wealth. Meanwhile, e-mails from eBay execs deride the “amateurish” board meetings held by Newmark and Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster, and appear to include impatience and amusement that the two couldn’t work a Powerpoint presentation.

The auctions site appeared to grow frustrated in its attempt to make money from its deal with Craigslist. As a result, a year after coming together with Craigslist, eBay considered the partnership dead. Buckmaster is expected to take stand in the Delaware court today, as the trial will likely continue through next week.