The mobile industry is notoriously fast-paced, but if it’s possible the race to build mobile payment systems is moving even faster. As big names jockey for position to create your mobile wallet, eBay (NSDQ: EBAY), Paypal, and Where President and CEO Walt Doyle decided to up the ante and shift their recent discussions from a possible partnership to a merger of the teams.
Doyle told mocoNews in the wake of eBay’s announcement that it had acquired Where that the deal was the end of a “very quick process” involving discussions between Doyle and PayPal’s Don Kingsborough, who only joined PayPal as vice president for retail and prepaid products in early March and will soon be Doyle’s new boss. The original idea was to hash out a deal in which Where would use Paypal within its mobile apps, but things quickly evolved as Doyle and Kingsborough realized they had “a shared vision of what’s going to occur,” Doyle said in an interview Wednesday.
At some point in the near future, it seems the long-held vision of a mobile wallet is going to come to pass. Google (NSDQ: GOOG) executive chairman Eric Schmidt has been talking about the evolution of this technology for months, and we’ve seen a ton of activity from handset makers, wireless carriers, and the traditional payment processing industry as partnerships are formed, products are designed, and disputes flare.
“Everybody recognizes that this is happening and it’s going to happen in a big way,” Doyle said. Where isn’t planning to install PayPal as the exclusive payment system on its applications; it will still allow users to pay for deals through other methods, he said. But working inside of PayPal gives Where the ability to take advantage of the huge scale at which PayPal and eBay operate, with self-service platforms used by millions and millions of people that can improve Where’s offerings for both consumers and those who advertise on its applications.
Around 120,000 businesses currently work with Where as either merchants listed within its application or advertisers on its network, Doyle said. Either way, the application helps businesses get people from online search and discovery to actually walk into a store and purchase something. Adding PayPal gives those people an additional option to pay for either deals or, at some point, goods and services, and it can also help PayPal get a better sense of how people are buying, where they are spending, and what goods and services are getting the most dollars.
Doyle declined to confirm reports that his company was acquired for $135 million, as did an eBay representative, citing the company’s quiet period ahead of next week’s earnings announcement.