Google in talks to buy Softcard to combat Apple Pay?

Google is responding to the successful launch of Apple Pay by going on the mobile payments acquisition trail, according to industry rumours — and US carrier-owned NFC venture Softcard, which laid off 60 staff last week, could be a key target.

Google Wallet“Rumor: Google to buy softcard and throw away all of the SE based architecture,” payments advisor Tom Noyes tweeted on 14 January. “Don’t think Google Wallet.. think pmt in OS, play, shopping”.

“The price may be under $100 million, according to our sources,” Techcrunch added on 16 January. “That is either a huge bargain or a testament to Softcard’s difficulties as an enterprise: sources tell us that AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile — the three carriers that started Isis in 2010 — have collectively invested hundreds of millions of dollars in the joint venture.

“At one point the company’s burn rate was around half a million dollars per day, or around $15million per month.”

“Our sources note that both PayPal and Microsoft have also approached the company,” Techcrunch adds. “Our sources say that one of the reasons for Google’s interest is Softcard’s patents, or more specifically what appear to be applications for patents. The company has just over 120 in all.”

The US Patent and Trademark Office lists 24 published patent applications assigned to Softcard parent JVL Ventures, along with a single granted patent.

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