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Stopping Google

Imagine the conspiracy theorists having a field day with this one: eBay is separately talking to Yahoo and Microsoft to see if one of them might be a valuable collaborator against a common threat: Google.

Imagine the conspiracy theorists having a field day with this one: eBay is separately talking to Yahoo and Microsoft to see if one of them might be a valuable collaborator against a common threat: Google.That's what The Wall Street Journal reported (subscription required) Friday. The online auctioneer is anxious that Google is invading its turf with its classified-ad service following years of the two online behemoths working closely together.

According to The Journal, the two-track discussions that began last fall could result in an alliance in which eBay would increase ad spending with its partner and furnish access to the plethora of information it has garnered about its customers. The partnership could involve a merger.

At the same time, eBay is mulling offers from Google to work more closely. Earlier this year, the newspaper reports, Google suggested that Google run ads on eBay sites and find a way to promote Skype, eBay's Internet phone service.

"Indecision within eBay will probably delay any conclusion," The Journal's Mylene Mangalindan and Robert Guth write. "Some eBay insiders think Google's momentum is widening its technology edge. Others say that building closer ties to Google would be like 'letting the fox into the henhouse.'"

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