Here’s Why Apple’s E-Commerce Chief Is Going to EBay

eBayEBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) announced this week that it has hired R.J. Pittman, the head of Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) worldwide e-commerce platform, as the company looks to further expand its international business, reports USA Today. Pittman will be chief product officer of eBay’s Marketplaces business.

According to Pittman’s LinkedIn profile page, his responsibilities at Apple included, “worldwide design, product management, operations, growth of the e-commerce platform that markets and sells Apple’s flagship products including the iPhone, iPad, Mac, and iPod.” He also noted that he led “international expansion teams to help bring Apple to important new countries including China, Russia, UAE, and many others.” According to USA Today, Pittman will be leading similar expansion teams for eBay into other emerging markets.

Pittman cited eBay’s focus on e-commerce as one of the reasons behind his departure from Apple. “Apple is a fantastic organization and we did some major things in e-commerce over there in the past few years. But from an e-commerce and marketplace perspective eBay dominates this category,” said Pittman via USA Today.

The departure of Apple’s head of e-commerce comes only days after Apple announced that it had hired Burberry (BURBY.PK) CEO Angela Ahrendts to oversee retail operations for both its online stores and brick-and-mortar locations. However, unnamed sources cited by All Things D stated that the timing of Ahrendts’s hiring and Pittman’s departure was purely coincidental.

EBay’s hiring of Pittman comes as some analysts are speculating that Apple may soon use its new Touch ID fingerprint sensor technology to further expand its e-commerce business. Currently, Apple users can only use Touch ID to make purchases from Apple’s own iTunes Store, App Store, and iBooks Store. However, the Cupertino-based company may have plans to extend this biometrics service to other e-commerce vendors.

Here’s how Apple closed out the trading week on Friday.


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