Best of the Web
Margaret "Meg" Whitman
Strolling about an eBay (EBAY) trade show in khaki pants and an eBay shirt, the former Hasbro executive looks much like any other online merchant. But behind Whitman's casual persona is the visionary that transformed a kitschy auction site into a global engine of electronic commerce. Along the way, the Princeton graduate has become an aggressive acquirer of other game-changing Web companies: PayPal, an online-payment service that's fueled e-commerce on and off eBay; Skype, the pioneering peer-to-peer online phone service; and ticket seller StubHub. Now she's showing an appetite for Web 2.0 tools, buying the user-driven search engine StumbleUpon. This hodgepodge of businesses strikes some as a Web version of a poorly integrated conglomerate. But if she finds a way to meld these businesses into something new, eBay may again redefine the way people shop on the Web.