Round 1 of The Main Event (eBay v Craigslist) has begun

The opening bell rings and the contenders come out swinging! eBay’s former CEO Meg Whitman and Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster testify in round 1 of their courtroom fight.

Other headliners who testified last week: eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, Craigslist founder Craig Newmark, and Skype CEO Josh Silverman.

eBay has made no secret of their desire to acquire Craigslist and they came close to doing so when eBay bought 28% of Craigslist shares in 2004. But the relationship between the two companies ran off the rails and now they’re suing each other. The trial opened in the state of Delaware this past week, and the CEOs of both have already testified. This courtroom drama will be worth watching.

I view this as a conflict of cultures: eBay is driven by profit; Craigslist is driven by, well, it seems to be driven by service. It’s clear that Craigslist’s founder, Craig Newmark, could cash in his shares at any time and walk away a zillionaire, but he seems to be driven to provide a spam-free forum where sellers and buyers can safely meet and buy and sell.

This summary of yesterday’s courtroom testimonies will bring you up to speed: and you can follow the links from there.

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