My colleague Tim Beyers wants to ignore eBay's (NASDAQ:EBAY) stratospheric valuation with the typical growth investor's hand-wave that it "has never looked cheap." That's fine. They used to say that about Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), too. Yet its shares have gone nowhere for the past six or so years, even as its business has continued to grow. Yes -- eventually, Microsoft's stagnating stock combined with its expanding operations led it to get cheap enough to encourage us bargain hunters at Motley Fool Inside Value to pounce. Thus far, it has been a market-beating pick for the service. Unfortunately, investors who bought before Microsoft actually looked cheap had to wait -- possibly for years -- before being rewarded for their investment.

In fact, that's a large part of my concern with eBay right now. It looks a little too much like Microsoft did half a decade ago. Simply put, eBay is a world-changing company that, nevertheless, is struggling to grow yet is priced as though it were just entering a tremendous expansion. Don't forget that over the first three quarters of the year, eBay has actually earned less money spread over more shares than it did over the comparable period a year ago. Sure, eBay may want to blame that on stock-option expensing. The fact still remains that eBay's shareholders are already not seeing the so-called growth that's priced into its stock.

When eBay's business has a chance to grow into its valuation, I'll be interested. Until then, I'll happily consider buying other tech stocks in the bargain bin while waiting for reality to catch up with eBay's stock. In the long run, a company's market price converges with its true value. It doesn't look as though that's happened for eBay, yet. When it does, I'll happily change my tune.

eBay is a Stock Advisor selection, and Microsoft is an Inside Value pick. Check out either service free for 30 days.

At the time of publication, Fool contributor Chuck Saletta owned shares of Microsoft. The Fool has a disclosure policy.