Massucci's Take: EBay's plan to be more retailer than auctioneer is one risky bid

EBay (EBAY) is a Web pioneer, having built a multibillion dollar business out of allowing people to essentially put garage sales on the Internet. That simple idea led to fast growth more than a decade ago and helped define what was possible online for other companies that followed. The company's IPO in 1998 turned founder Pierre Omidyar and eBay President Jeffrey Skoll into instant billionaires.

Fast-forward to 2009, and the 1990s Internet darling is steering through turbulence. EBay seems to be want to be more an online retailer and less an online auction site. If it makes such a move, if will have to fight online retailers such as Amazon.com (AMZN) and Zappos and their impeccable customer service. It will also have to take on formidable brick-and-mortar retailers like Walmart (WMT) and Target (TGT), which are focusing more on online sales. Why does eBay want to join a battle it's not likely to win?