February 24, 2011, 2:33 PM

eBay and PayPal merge development platforms

The new platform will allow outside developers to create apps for e-commerce and payments.

Katie Evans

Managing Editor, International Research

Lead Photo

United we stand, divided we’re, well, not as easy for developers to use.

That’s what eBay and its payment processing arm PayPal decided last week when they combined their two separate developer platforms.

“Online and offline commerce are converging into a new retail experience, powered by mobile, local, social and digital innovation,” Matthew Mengerink, who will head the combined developer platform team, wrote in a blog post. “In this new environment, people want a seamless and integrated shopping and payments solution that works anytime, anywhere—on any connected device. To deliver on your expectations and take advantage of all this innovation, we have decided to come together as one team to give developers one e-commerce solution–a complete approach to commerce online and offline that gives you more access, resources and support than ever before.”

PayPal has tapped outside developers to make several advancements in its payments platform to better compete with challengers, like Google Checkout and Checkout by Amazon. In 2009, PayPal launched PayPal X, an initiative that allows developers to build services on top of PayPal’s payment platform through the use of PayPal’s Adaptive Payments application programming interface, or API.

PayPal X enables software developers to plug PayPal’s transaction and payment technology into their payment systems for several purposes, such as to pre-approve payments; to split payments, such as a restaurant bill, among several consumers; and to use a technology called Bump, which allows consumers to “bump” iPhones together to transfer money. PayPal X has been popular, with 30,000 developers using it as of April, according to PayPal.

EBay also enables developers to embed their tools into its platform. In 2009, for example, it added its first third-party applications to its Selling Manager and Selling Manager Pro platforms that offer services from outside providers designed to help eBay sellers manage their orders.

Merchants can access the applications at my.ebay.com. There, they can access free services or purchase subscriptions to tools and services that are embedded directly into the eBay platform. Tools featured in the hub include MyStoreMaps, which helps sellers track a buyer’s geographic location.

eBay has yet to reveal much about the changes eBay and PayPal developers will encounter with the newly merged platform. However, one change already revealed is that the eBay and PayPal developers’ conferences will be held together this year. The eBay Developer Conference and Innovate X will merge into one event—Innovate 2011—and will take place in San Francisco in October.

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