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Should Amazon buy eBay?

The answer is “yes,” according to Bits, The New York Times‘s tech blog:

For years it was impossible to even suggest that Amazon buy eBay because eBay’s market value was three or four times that of Amazon. And there was good reason for that: EBay’s margins have been far higher because it simply moves bits around, while Amazon has to move boxes (and take the risk of owning inventory it can’t sell).

Now the tables are turning. Amazon is in favor on Wall Street. Its shares are up 150 percent over the last year, giving it a market value of $38 billion. EBay’s stock has been flat for a year, and it is now worth only a little more than Amazon at $45 billion.

Amazon has been improving its margins, in part because it is increasingly acting as a broker for goods sold by other merchants (and doing a better job for new merchandise than eBay stores or eBay’s Shopping.com). Amazon’s margins, to be fair, have been hurt because it is paying for a lot of two-day shipping under its Amazon Prime program. Amazon also has a wild card in its growing sideline business of selling storage and processing services to other Web businesses.

The real question, as far as we’re concerned, is, “Should some restless and massively rich tech company looking for a little lit-cachet buy Quillblog?” The answer to that is also “yes,” provided that we are guaranteed total editorial freedom, paid handsomely and by the word, and that each contributor is provided with a summer residence located near water.

Let the bidding begin.