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Ebay and PayPal acquisitions point way ahead for mobile payments

Recent acquisitions by eBay and its PayPal subsidiary are beginning to draw a picture of how the company plans to move from the online world to providing a full mobile shopping service including merchant payments and marketing services for retailers, Techcrunch reports.


Ebay has acquired barcode scanning mobile app RedLaser, in-store product inventory service Milo and, most recently, geo-location service and mobile advertising company Where.

PayPal, meanwhile, has acquired FigCard, a Boston-based startup that allows merchants to accept mobile payments in stores by using a simple USB device that plugs into the cash register or point-of-sale terminal.

“If you look closely, a clear strategy is emerging that positions eBay at the center of mobile shopping, local commerce, and payments,” says Techcrunch:

eBay realizes that in order to really capitalise on local and mobile in the ecommerce experience, the company also has to be a part of the point of sale for local merchants. And eBay has a player in this race — payments giant PayPal…

Enter Where, a geo-location service and mobile advertising company that already has millions of active users across many mobile platforms. The apps show local listings for restaurants, bars, merchants, and events, and also suggests places and deals for you based on your location and past behaviour…

eBay of course acquired Where a few weeks ago, and housed the company within PayPal. Not only does this give PayPal much more of a reach with its payments service, but it gives eBay a platform to to enter into the the local deals market…

In the past year, it’s fair to say that eBay and PayPal have spent over $200 million on the acquisitions I mentioned above. That’s a fair chunk of change even for a company that is making billions each year…

Pivot is a word that tends to be over-used in the tech world, but in eBay’s case that is exactly what we are witnessing — a major pivot in the company’s business model to local commerce. It’s certainly not easy for any company to “pivot,” especially one as massive as eBay. If it manages to pull this off so late in the game, it could herald a whole new era of growth for the company.”

In March, Fabio Sisinni from PayPal’s mobile team outlined the company’s vision for the future of PayPal on mobile devices. The aim, he explained, is to become a “technology agnostic wallet in the cloud” that will be both ubiquitous and work on any device running any operating system.

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