Softcard to Google?

17 Janisischoice

As I tweeted Monday, it is now in mainstream press (See today’s WSJ). This has been a very poorly kept secret, as the team at ISIS talks up its suitors.. I found out from a retailer. (BTW I did not return the calls of the WSJ for this article)

My very first blog in 2009 was on ISIS (project mercury back then).Did you know Softcard started as a joint venture between GE, Walmart and ATT!?  Selecting Discover and Barclays as the primary network/issuer to deliver value to retailers (Dekkers was lead at Barclays now CEO of MCX, Abbott was lead at GE now CEO of Softcard). There wasn’t much of a business case for the MNOs (50bps Discover card) so they brought in the mainstream networks, and realized that there still wasn’t a value proposition.. and started charging BANKS $1M a pop for the RIGHT to have their cards in the wallet (leaving 3 willing issuers today). Walmart left after the MNOs moved away from DFS/Barclays (and began planning MCX).

Hard to believe change can happen so quickly.  Just 4 years ago, the carriers wanted $3-4 Billion for the “rights” to NFC, now ISIS is going for around $60M. A price that more closely aligns the real value of NFC in an Apple, Token and Android HCE world.

SOOO many lessons learned, so many funny stories.  How could any company drive enough revenue to support a 12 party supply chain in payments (see blog)? See my “value prop” slide from 2009. Do you see anything that didn’t quite pan out? The WHOLE thing!!Mercury Value Proposition

I’m working on my 2015 predictions, one will be that we have come to a tipping point of … wait for it… COLLABORATION. Yes big companies WORKING with one another. Too much capital has been burned trying to go it alone. No one company can compete against Apple, Google, Amazon… Of course I’m betting on this with CommerceSignals

Look at the Google deal for Softcard (if rumors are true) as Google working to create a starting point for collaboration in payments. I don’t know if softcard is that right vehicle for that.. If Google is buyer, they will throw all of the technology away in days after acquisition.. I have some other very firm views here on why this all makes sense.. but don’t want to share now until deal is finalized.

Here are a few of my old blogs..

ISIS Platform: Ecosystem or Desert

Battle of the Cloud – Part 2

ISIS National Launch

NFC – ISIS has 12 months… (Oct 2011.. I was wrong by 24 months)

ISIS: Antonym of Nimble?

Software Secure Element – HCE Breaks the MNO NFC Lock

NFC and Consumer Choice

 

 

3 thoughts on “Softcard to Google?”

  1. I imagine the value Google sees here, in some part, are all the Android phones with NFC already out there that were crippled by the carriers in order to support ISIS/Softcard instead of Google Wallet. This of course led to confusion and complexity for the consumer as they probably don’t even realize their phone can act in a similar manner to an iPhone 6 with Apple Pay. I think Google believes they can quickly “catch-up” to Apple in terms of install base/usage if they mainstream NFC payments on Android.

  2. Intelligent people can be very stupid… as is shown by ISIS–>Softcard as well as Google in their unflagging faith in proximity payments. There is no problem to solve, thus virtually nobody f’king cares (as the wit said NFC stand for). Apple Pay will be a minor success in a few merchants, but the real win will be with m-commerce.

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