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Google Gets eBay's Goat

With friends like Google (GOOG - Get Report), who needs enemies?

On Wednesday, eBay (EBAY - Get Report) announced that it would pull its advertising from Google as part of an experiment to gauge the effectiveness of its marketing dollars.

However, that decision came on the heels of an underhanded move by Google to poach eBay users. And nobody believes the timing of eBay's "experiment" was mere coincidence.

But while the fireworks between the two companies may steal the show, investors can glean some valuable lessons from the exchange. Google's move suggests a sign of desperation to push its struggling Checkout online-payment service. And for all the lip service Google has been giving to the importance of partnerships, the company can be unusually abrasive when push comes to shove.

Here's what happened:

eBay, the largest buyer of ads on Google and the one publicly pointed to as a key partner, was set to host an event in Boston for its users on Thursday night. Google decided to throw its own party on the same day, with invitations specifically aimed at eBay users.

"Are you an online seller attending eBay Live! in Boston this week?" Google wrote on its blog. "If so, join us for a celebration of user choice at the Google Checkout Freedom Party on Thursday night."

Want more? Check out TheStreet.com TV video. Vishesh takes a closer look at the ramifications for Google.

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