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Google Hires PayPal Exec for Role That Could Hurt AMZN

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PayPal’s (PYPL) chief operating officer, Bill Ready, will join Google (GOOGL) in January as head of its commerce business, according to TechCrunch. Ready is set to leave PayPal at the end of the year. Alphabet stock has gained 29% in 2019. PayPal and Amazon stocks have risen 26% and 16%, respectively, in the year.

As president of Google’s commerce business, Ready will lead the development and delivery of commerce products at the company. Ready joined PayPal in 2013 after it acquired Braintree, a payment startup he was running. That was when PayPal was still part of eBay (EBAY), one of the world’s top e-commerce companies. eBay stock has gained 24% in 2019.

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Google and Amazon are trying to disrupt each other’s bases

Google’s hiring of Ready as its commerce chief comes as the competition between it and Amazon (AMZN) intensifies. For example, Amazon is eating into its search ad market share, threatening its future. The shift in online product search behavior has rewarded Amazon but punished Google. Consumers now mostly choose to begin their online product searches on marketplaces such as Amazon instead of general-purpose search engines such as Google.

That shift has made Amazon a strong competitor in the digital advertising market, particularly when it comes to consumer brand advertising. Consequently, Amazon is taking advertising market share from Google. Amazon’s share of the US digital advertising market stood at 6.8% in 2018 but will rise to 8.8% in 2019. In contrast, Google’s share of the US digital advertising market will drop to 37.2% in 2019 from 38.2% in 2018.

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Could Ready help Google counter Amazon’s growing threat? The rivalry between the companies has turned into a tit-for-tat affair. As Amazon tries to disrupt its advertising business, Google has sought to disrupt Amazon’s e-commerce world. Google has introduced several commerce products that rival Amazon’s offerings. Moreover, Google has forged ties with traditional retailers to help them in their competition with Amazon in online sales.

Google is also helping Chinese online retailer JD.com (JD) in its competition with Amazon. It owns a small equity stake in JD. JD stock has gained nearly 60% in 2019.

PayPal executive Ready could be a valuable addition to the anti-Amazon campaign

Google has hired its commerce chief from a company that has a lot of scores to settle with Amazon. Amazon has been expanding its Amazon Pay service, threatening to weaken PayPal’s hold on the global digital payments market. Moreover, Amazon has long refused to hand PayPal a piece of its e-commerce payment business. Last month, PayPal appeared to put Amazon on notice with its acquisition of e-commerce startup Honey Science Corporation.

Therefore, PayPal exec Ready could be a valuable addition to Google’s efforts to cut rival Amazon down to size.

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