eBay pins global e-commerce push on Skype and PayPal

eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and initial investor Bob Kagle see eBay's potential fulfilled in global online trade and communities.

BOSTON--eBay intends to expand into global e-commerce, in part by further integrating its Skype and PayPal acquisitions.

At its developer conference here on Wednesday, eBay hosted a talk with company founder and chairman Pierre Omidyar, investor and eBay director Robert Kagle, and eBay Markeplaces president John Donahoe.

Omidyar, who is now a philanthropist through the Omidyar Network, and Kagle, who made the initial venture investment in eBay, reflected on the events and ideas of online commerce and community that helped start the company.

Pierre Omidyar, eBay founder, speaking at the eBay Developers Conference. Martin LaMonica/CNET Networks

All three executives said that eBay needs to extend its presence in different international markets and create tools that enable "global commerce."

"My vision for eBay generally has always been creating a single global marketplace where anyone in the world can do business regardless of the language they speak and the currency they use," said Omidyar. "Our platforms PayPal and Skype are critical components."

They said that eBay needs to do more to enable cross-border trade. Omidyar and Donahoe said they met on Tuesday to discuss ways to address barriers for international trade, such as different currencies, customs costs and postal systems.

Although they stayed clear of making specific commitments, the three said that they intend to make eBay services accessible from mobile phones, which is critical to driving adoption of online commerce in the developing world.

Bob Kagle, an eBay director and early investor, spoke with Omidyar about eBay's global commerce ambitions. Martin LaMonica/CNET Networks

"It's going to be platforms other than the PCs that may be the drivers and enablers (for global e-commerce) in other societies," said Kagle. "eBay is sort of islands of commerce around the world but we haven't empowered a craftsman who makes drums in Nairobi to sell to someone in Japan."

Omidyar said that eBay relies on third-party developers to push the company to do things like develop better tools and applications for international trade. "Developers are always the ones who are leading the innovation in any kind of ecosystem," he said.

The executives also committed to better integrating eBay's voice-over-Internet Protocol Skype division and PayPal online payment system over the coming years.

"What Skype adds to the mix is better control over all avenues of communications. We need to do a better job of integrating that into the actual commerce experience," Omidyar said. "To me, it's a central part of what defines a global trading community."

eBay's Donahoe and Kagle also committed to bringing better tools to "casual sellers," or people who sell the occasional item.

"I think enabling the casual seller is something we've yet to accomplish at eBay," said Kagle.

 

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