Stories by Miguel Helft

eBay Cleared in copyright and trademark suit

A federal judge has thrown out a lawsuit against online auctioneer eBay Inc., a ruling the company said would immunize it against other copyright and trademark infringement claims.

What makes eBay unstoppable?

A visitor to eBay Inc.'s San Jose, Calif., headquarters one recent morning came upon an unusual scene. Some 20 men and women were milling around until suddenly a company official emerged and called for new employees to follow him for an orientation. The lobby emptied.

A long, strange trip for Webvan

No one at Webvan's San Diego operations saw it coming. In mid-January, four months after acquiring rival HomeGrocer.com, Webvan was set to unite the two most powerful online grocers under one brand and one technology platform. It was a milestone, the first step toward the efficiency the companies had promised Wall Street at the time of the US$1.2 billion merger. HomeGrocer's San Diego warehouse would switch over to Webvan's technology, and other facilities would follow.

Amazon.com heads for the Borders

In its second alliance with an offline chain, Amazon.com Inc. said Wednesday that it would run the online operations for rival Borders Group Inc.

The Olympics' Upset Winners

When the Russian women's gymnastics team walked away from the Olympics finals with a silver medal on Tuesday, the six team members had tears of disappointment, not pride, in their eyes. The Russian team had gone to Sydney with one goal: Bring home the gold.

For Amazon, Honesty May Not Be the Best Policy

To Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) , it seemed like a good idea: to be up-front with its customers and put to rest latent fears that it might share their shopping habits with others. But the company's effort to look like a responsible citizen seems to have backfired.

Suddenly, no one loves Amazon

Even Amazon.com's staunchest bulls are pulling in their horns. None other than Henry Blodget, the Merrill Lynch Internet analyst, cut his rating on Amazon.com last week after the online retailer reported slightly disappointing second-quarter earnings.

MVP.com Makes a Play for PlanetOutdoors

In the latest sign of consolidation in the Internet retail industry, sports retailer MVP.com Inc., agreed Tuesday to buy PlanetOutdoors.com, an outdoor gear and apparel Web site.

The Amazon Question

To understand how polarizing the debate over Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) has become, consider the difference of opinion at Lehman Brothers.

Petstore.com Bites The Dust

Online retailer Petstore.com expired unceremoniously today, laying off most of its remaining employees and selling off some of its assets to struggling rival Pets.com. The move comes two weeks after the Emeryville, Calif.-based company fired a large portion of its workforce, which stood at about 200 earlier this year.

PlanetRx.com Lays Off 70 Employees

Troubled online drugstore PlanetRx.com (PLRX) quietly laid off about 70 employees last week, or about 15 percent of its workforce, hoping to reduce its losses as the company explores alternatives for remaining in business in the long term.

Feds Subpoena eBay Unit Over Price-Fixing Probe

EBay Inc. said today it had received a grand jury subpoena from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) that it believes is related to the high-profile price-fixing probe of auction houses Sotheby's and Christie's.

EBay Bids on Small-Biz Auction Market

Online auctioneer eBay Inc. took a small but serious step into the white-hot market for business-to-business auctions today, with a new site aimed at small businesses.

The Real Victims of Fraud

You'd think Audri and Jim Lanford would know a thing or two about online credit card fraud. Founders of Internet retailer Netrageous.com, they also publish ScamBusters, an online newsletter about Internet fraud that is read by everyone from merchants to state attorneys general.

Buy.com CEO Reflects on the Hack

The hacker attacks that shut down major Internet sites earlier this week hit Buy.com at a particularly bad time: The company's stock was making its debut on Wall Street. When the denial-of-service attack came, CEO Greg Hawkins was in New York, talking with investors and the press. On Thursday, he spoke about the incident and its repercussions with Industry Standard Senior Writer Miguel Helft. What follows is an edited transcript of that conversation:

Market Place