Google poaches top payments exec Osama Bedier from PayPal

Osama Bedier, PayPal’s vice president of product development and a key player in the company’s move towards mobile payments, has joined Google.

In a post on the PayPal blog, Scott Guilfoyle, the company’s CTO, writes that:

We’ve got some changes underway today. First, we are saying goodbye to Osama Bedier. After eight years at PayPal, he’s decided to make a change, taking on a new role at Google. Osama helped open our platform to the world two years ago and that’s driving great innovation and momentum. I want to personally thank Osama for his friendship and leadership.

There’s no news yet from Google on what Bedier will be working on. But the appointment of Bedier does add fuel to speculation that the internet giant is planning to launch an NFC-based payments platform.

Writing in the Harvard Business Review earlier this month, Google chairman and CEO Eric Schmidt explained that mobile money is one of three key areas of focus for Google in 2011.

In December, Google included support for NFC in the Android 2.3 Gingerbread operating system and near field communication functionality is also included in the Nexus S smartphone. The company launched its first NFC marketing service in Portland, Oregon the same month.

PayPal also plans to move into the mobile payments market. Last August, PayPal president Scott Thompson revealed that the company’s top priority “is to develop software that transforms mobile phones and other devices into ‘digital wallets’ that consumers can use to buy merchandise, keep coupons and store loyalty program data.”

The news followed the launch of a trial in Palo Alto, Silicon Valley which enables both local consumers and all of PayPal’s 2,000 headquarters staff to use Bling Nation‘s mobile contactless payments solution to make purchases at a range of local merchants.

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