Looking to expand its mobile capabilities, eBay has acquired RedLaser, a barcode-scanning app for the iPhone, from Occipital. The deal, terms of which were not disclosed, also includes RedLaser’s related technology. The app has been downloaded two million, the company said. It’s marketed as comparison shopping engine and eBay (NSDQ: EBAY) plans to combine that technology with its other iPhone offerings, including apps for the eBay Marketplace, eBay Selling, StubHub and Shopping.com.
Immediately after the purchase was announced, eBay dropped the $2.00 charge for RedLaser and made it a free standalone app. The online auction company also plans to increase selection on RedLaser by folding in more than 200 million listings from eBay, as well as product inventory from over 7,000 global merchants on Shopping.com, which it says includes 95 of the top 100 online retailers. In addition to making RedLaser free on the iPhone, eBay is expected to transition the app for its BlackBerry and Android features as well.
The mobile barcode market is still very nascent in the U.S., even as it has become much more ingrained in the consumer culture of countries like Japan and in Europe.
But with demand for the iPhone rising, acceptance of barcode apps is appearing to catch on. As a result, there are likely to be more deals such as Big In Japan’s acquisition and subsequent resurrection of Snappr, which runs a 2D barcode scanning technology. Big In Japan is know for the popular ShopSavvy barcode-scanning app that is available on the Android as well as the iPhone.
A month before that March 2010 acquisition, Motorola (NYSE: MOT) Ventures, the investment arm of the handset-maker, made an undisclosed investment in New York-based Scanbuy, which created a platform that let’s advertisers provide information to consumers through scanning a barcode with their phone. Release