December 18, 2013, 12:42 PM

eBay acquires mobile app developer StackMob

PayPal, eBay’s payments arm, says StackMob will help PayPal further its mobile payments capabilities, and PayPal will help StackMob clients better enable payments in mobile apps. Meanwhile, Amazon has its mobile sights set on PayPal.

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Online marketplace eBay Inc. has acquired StackMob, a mobile app developer, in a deal that could strengthen eBay and subsidiary PayPal in enabling consumers to pay with mobile devices. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Meanwhile, eBay’s chief rival, Amazon.com Inc., is also adding technology related to mobile payments.

The acquisition could help PayPal, eBay’s online payments service that’s starting to move into physical retail stores, increase its presence in mobile commerce apps and enhance its mobile payments offerings, including in-store mobile payments. The deal could help StackMob clients more easily accept mobile payments within their apps.

“While projects underway at PayPal have already accelerated our ability to deliver great products to our customers, we believe that with the addition of the talented team from StackMob, we’ll move even faster in creating, testing and deploying products that aim to transform payments for customers around the world,” writes James Barrese, chief technology officer at PayPal, on the PayPal blog.

StackMob’s co-founder and CEO, Ty Amell, has high hopes for what the two companies can achieve.

“By joining PayPal, the StackMob team will maintain its focus on developers and extending innovative mobile technologies that aim to allow consumers to access the rich capabilities of the PayPal global network,” Amell writes on his company’s blog. “We believe that our work at PayPal will make it easier for developers to create seamless payment solutions that span online, mobile and in-store experiences.”

The StackMob buy follows eBay’s September acquisition of Braintree, a mobile payments processor, for $800 million in cash. Braintree will join eBay’s PayPal payments processing unit. EBay says the acquisition will accelerate PayPal’s innovation in mobile payments.

However, Amazon.com Inc. has its sights set on PayPal. The e-retailer has reportedly acquired GoPago Inc., a mobile point-of-sale software and services provider that enables retailers and restaurants to use card reader-enabled tablets and smartphones to check out customers and allows customers to use an app to order and pay for goods and services before they arrive at a business. GoPago’s Italian owners have talked with Italian media about the acquisition, but not U.S. media. Amazon.com and GoPago did not respond to requests for comment from Internet Retailer.

It may be that Amazon.com, which operates an online marketplace, is bolstering its payments capabilities to compete with other companies that offer marketplaces and mobile payments, including eBay/PayPal, Google Inc., Groupon and Square, says Colin Sebastian, an analyst for investment firm Robert W. Baird & Co.

Amazon.com is No. 2 in the 2014 Internet Retailer Mobile 500.

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