Back in the middle of the last decade, eBay, the massive auction site, was in trouble.

Between 2005 and 2007, its stock price was cut in half and its market cap shrank by $30 billion.

In October 2007, eBay admitted that Skype, a company it had acquired for $2.5 billion two years earlier, was actually worth less than half of that.

During the third quarter of 2007, eBay lost money for the first time as a public company.

Meanwhile, it was becoming clear that despite a massive early lead, eBay was going to miss out on China’s e-commerce boom. In the United States, Amazon was quickly becoming the "Everything Store," thanks to smarter branding and superior technology.