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- Jul 27, 2011
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This isn't directly Apple related news, but it is an interesting development in the world of mobile payments, and since Apple is the king of that right now, we figured it was worth sharing.
Here's an interesting turn of events. Apparently, Google has purchased some technology and intellectual property rights from Softcard. In case you forgot, Softcard is the mobile payment system formerly known as Isis which was spear-headed by Verizon. Google has also worked out some agreements with Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile to include Google Wallet functionality automatically on future Android smartphones.
Ironically, one could argue that Softcard is one of the reasons why Google Wallet never took off. It was Google Wallet's primary competitor, and was the main NFC-based mobile payment service which was backed by Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile. It never really saw wide-spread adoption or popularity, and it also held back Google Wallet indirectly by reducing its market footprint. Google Wallet was also hurt by the fact that the carriers refused to offer Google Wallet services on their devices (although later on Google was able to circumvent that restriction).
It looks like things didn't go well for Softcard, because the carriers decided to ink this deal with Google. Although Softcard assures its customers they can continue to utilize the service for now, a decision about the future is coming soon. It makes you wonder if Google Wallet would have been a bigger success if the three carriers had not ruined the idea with Softcard. We'll see what Google can do with it in the next generation of mobile payments.
Between Apple Pay, Samsung's new LoopPay, and now Google's Softcard/Google Wallet, it will be an interesting pit-fight for mobile payments.