The Wall Street Journal reports that Google is negotiating for the purchase of US mobile payments provider Softcard by May this year.
The effort would be to bolster Google Wallet, which has been losing traction against the very popular Apple Pay, which already accounts for 2/3 of contact-less payments in US.
Google is apparently concerned that an effective mobile payment feature will become a selling point for phones, which could help iOS and hurt Android.
This of course is the crux of the issue for Windows Phone also, already struggling in the US. Softcard is the only system which enables mobile payments in the US, and support has been very slow in coming. If Google does purchase the company, it is very likely it will neglect or even drop Windows Phone support, much as we have seen with Waze, which has had very limited updates since Google’s purchase.
The deal apparently as the backing of the owners of Softcard, the 3 big mobile carriers, since they do not receive a cut of Apple Pay revenue. The WSJ reports that Google is offering to pay them to feature Wallet prominently on their Android phones and is dangling the promise of more revenue from advertising tied to Google searches made on the phones, according to the people familiar with the matter.
Google is hoping to use their Wallet app to collect data on consumer purchases, which would give the company something besides website clicks to demonstrate the effectiveness of its ads. This raises questions if a Google-owned payment system would even be welcome on Windows Phone.
Given that nothing is finalized, and Microsoft’s big cross-platform push, do our readers think Microsoft should put in a competing bid?