Wow, it’s everywhere today. And yesterday. And likely tomorrow. After speculation that Softcard had laid off ~60 people last week and consolidated into two offices (Dallas and NYC maybe?), the rumors have started flying that Google will be buying the company out.
Even CrazyEngineers.com has a mention. I’ve never even heard of CrazyEngineers.com before today… but whatever. This is FANTASTIC news for everyone in merchant-land, payments-land, and consumer-land! We love Apple, and we think that Apple Pay is the bee’s knees… but we’re all about that spirit of competition and capitalism in the marketplace to keep everyone on their toes and producing their best work.
Google made a terrible mistake back in 2010/2011 time frame, when they agreed to allow carriers to distribute Android without Google Wallet as OEM on all phones. I’m sure it didn’t seem like a big deal at the time, but wow, it’s been a thorn in their side for the last two years and all this Apple Pay hullabaloo has to be like nails on a chalkboard. And what kind of convo’s do you think they have at the ‘Plex when ALL THOSE BANK ADS PUSHING APPLE PAY are on tv during lunch? I mean seriously, is there a major bank NOT pushing Apple Pay (therefore pushing iPhone 6/6+) on their own dime? Everyone at the Big G has to be completely appalled at the fact that they did not come up with this idea, leverage their wallet when they had the clear advantage of being the only company with a viable wallet and all that good stuff.
Another rumor, one started by us, actually – is that Facebook Messenger and Paypal will be joining forces as soon as the latter is split from the eBay empire and into standalone territory with the freedom to engage in partnerships that are more aligned with Paypal than eBay goals. We know that Messenger is equipped with a wallet estimate; we also feel 100% sure that the reason Facebook FORCED the Messenger app down the throats of a very unhappy user base (who have all gotten over it and moved on to their next complaint lol) was to get a clear path to monetizing the app in a way that makes sense while prying it out of the regular business, likely in case there are regulatory issues or hurdles on the horizon that Facebook would like to keep removed from the main business.
It’s also very logical that Google buy Softcard – if someone is going to buy them. They are integrated into Android devices already, and I believe that pesky SIM card swap issue has been dealt with (or at least the “finish your Softcard Wallet setup” app notification I got on Thursday would indicate that) and users can work with the wallet as is. Couple the wallet with Google’s own cloud data solution, developed last year with the Mastercard and Visa, and it could get legs fast.
It also would not surprise me to see that Visa and MC are thick as thieves with Google on this deal; maybe they didn’t put any money into it, but there are so many other ways they can throw support to the idea (along with Apple Pay) as a hedge against any ground that much beleaguered CurrentC could gain (if it ever launches!) with consumers, since their system replaces the interchange instead of using it.
Last but not least, we learn, yet again, that in the US, mobile carriers are not billers. They don’t have the right attitude, technology or fan base like the EU and Asia does – Americans just don’t buy computers and stuffed animals like the Japanese or the Koreans, and don’t buy train tickets or similar items like the EU device owners do.