Remember when the big battle in mobile payments was Google versus the carriers? Or more precisely, Google Wallet versus Isis? With AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon all on the Isis team, and some taking technical measures to retard the spread of Wallet, it looked like we were ready for a showdown. But then Google freed Wallet from the constraints of secure hardware elements, Isis turned into Softcard, and Apple Pay landed to new controversy. And really, except for news of Isis/Softcard’s Windows Phone compatibility, it felt like momentum for that whole project had seriously stalled. Well, there may be a future for the company yet, as we get word that Google may be looking to put the past behind it and bring Softcard under its wing.
Google is reportedly considering buying Softcard in a deal worth somewhere under $100 million. While neither company has confirmed the allegations, Softcard has been rumored to be courting a buyout, following a recent round of layoffs. Should the Google deal not happen, another possibility that’s been raised is that one of the carriers involved could front the cash and make Softcard its own.
But especially if Google’s able to close this deal, the acquisition could have a big impact on the future of mobile payments for Android. Apple has been making big headway on Google with the introduction of Apple Pay this past year for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, and a closing of ranks among players on the Android side of the fence could go a long way towards strengthening the platform’s position in this sector.