or Connect
AppleInsider › Forums › Mobile › iPhone › Apple, Google in secret talks with mobile payments startup BOKU
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Apple, Google in secret talks with mobile payments startup BOKU

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
A new report claims both Apple and rival Google have been meeting with executives from BOKU, a leading mobile payments startup, to discuss a possible acquisition or wide-reaching partnership.

San Francisco-based startup BOKU aims to bring "bank-grade payments technology" to mobile platforms and create the standard for online payments using a mobile phone. Key partnerships with global carriers allow BOKU to claim it reaches 1.8 billion customers worldwide.

According to TechCrunch, BOKU President and CEO Mark Britto and co-founder Ron Hirson have met with Apple executives in charge of the iPhone several times over the past 3 weeks.

At the same time, BOKU has also allegedly participated in "high-level meetings" with Google Director of Engineering Michael Morrissey, who heads Google Mobile Services for Android, including the Android Market app store. BOKU has already partnered with Android developers to offer in-app purchases for Android apps.

Sources have yet to confirm whether Google is interested in an "outright acquisition " of the startup, but with both Apple and Google doing some "serious sniffing," the result could be a bidding war. The price tag on BOKU, which has brought in a number of "big-name investors," could reach 9-digits, reportedly costing Apple between $250-450 million, although TechCrunch was unable to fix an exact price at this stage in the negotiations.

With both companies looking for a mobile payments solution, negotiations with BOKU could reprise last year's race to acquire a mobile advertising agency. In late 2009, ad-seller AdMob attracted the attention of Google and Apple, with Google eventually acquiring the company for $750 million, just weeks after Apple reportedly approached the company.

According to The New York Times, Apple made a formal bid to acquire AdMob for $600 million. "While Apple conducted due diligence on the deal, AdMob agreed to a 45-day 'no shop' provision, a routine clause that prevented the start-up from offering itself for sale to others, according to three people briefed on the negotiations. But after Apple inexplicably let 45 days pass without consummating its offer, Google pounced," noted the Times report.

Just 3 days after AdMob's "no shop" provision with Apple expired, Google purchased AdMob. The search giant was willing to pay a large premium for AdMob simply to keep the company out of Apples arms, an executive familiar with Googles acquisitions strategy told the Times.

After Apple failed to acquire AdMob, it turned to Quattro Wireless, paying $275 million to purchase the smaller mobile ad company. Quattro helped lay the groundwork for Apple's interactive iAd program.

"We don't know much about this advertising thing," said Apple CEO Steve Jobs when he announced iAd in April. "We tried to buy a company called AdMob, and Google came in and snatched them because they didn't want us to have them. We bought a smaller but still great company called Quattro."

With $51 billion in cash and reserves, Apple can afford to purchase BOKU, even in a bidding war. Last month, Jobs hinted that Apple could be looking into using its hefty war chest for more acquisitions.

"We strongly believe one or more strategic opportunities will come along we're in a unique position to take advantage of," Jobs said during the company's conference call for the fourth fiscal quarter of 2010. "We don't let the cash burn a hole in the pocket or make stupid acquisitions. We'd like to continue to keep our powder dry because we think there are one or more strategic opportunities in the future."
post #2 of 11
Boku wa desu ka?
post #3 of 11
I don't see why they'd need these guys.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of a rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
Reply
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of a rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
Reply
post #4 of 11
a) Nice business position to be in, you are the subject of a bidding war between Apple and Google
b) Someone is going to pay too much here...
c) They want to become your wallet.
post #5 of 11
Doesn't seem so "secret" if it is being reported...

Ten years ago, we had Steve Jobs, Bob Hope and Johnny Cash.  Today we have no Jobs, no Hope and no Cash.

Reply

Ten years ago, we had Steve Jobs, Bob Hope and Johnny Cash.  Today we have no Jobs, no Hope and no Cash.

Reply
post #6 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by 801 View Post

a) Nice business position to be in, you are the subject of a bidding war between Apple and Google
b) Someone is going to pay too much here...
c) They want to become your wallet.

Uh... I wouldn't be surprised if Apple got wind of Google being interested, and stepped in just to drive the price up, and then makes sure they don't make the final bid in order to screw Google.
post #7 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by IQ78 View Post

Uh... I wouldn't be surprised if Apple got wind of Google being interested, and stepped in just to drive the price up, and then makes sure they don't make the final bid in order to screw Google.

That's exactly what I was hoping. I'm thinking that Apple should have been able to hire a roomful of engineers to come up with a system to compete with BOKU. Then for a little payback want to see how much they can get Google to pay for something Apple has no need for. Hope they make them pay "boku" bucks.
A.k.a. AppleHead on other forums.
Reply
A.k.a. AppleHead on other forums.
Reply
post #8 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

I don't see why they'd need these guys.

Thankyou. I'm curious myself how this is 'better' than just whipping out the credit card...
post #9 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnmcboston View Post

Thankyou. I'm curious myself how this is 'better' than just whipping out the credit card...

That's not what I meant.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of a rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
Reply
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of a rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
Reply
post #10 of 11
Typically you grab these companies because they have the same kinda devs you want to hire to build this thing anyway. Even for really sharp devs you need ramp up time to get familiar with a new problem domain and these folks have already spent months getting to be experts. So you save these months plus you have a product you can mold into what you want quickly. Time to market is the driver.

It's not like Apple and Google keeps devs idle. Neither Apple nor Google NEEDS these folks. Both have folks well versed in financial transactions via iTunes or Google Checkout and obviously phones.
post #11 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnmcboston View Post

Thankyou. I'm curious myself how this is 'better' than just whipping out the credit card...

You're American. In many other parts of the world not everyone has a CC, some don't have bank accounts. Boku is a way to pay for stuff online with your phone number, and teenagers can use it and the payment simply gets deducted from their Pre-Pay credit. You simply reply the letter Y to a text from them. Boom.

That said, Boku wasn't interested in letting us use them on our site. We are a service, but judging by what they said they are looking for sites they are already popular. I don't see why they won't let us use their API. We've in talks with Zong, but they might do the same.

We'll see…

If Apple bought these guys I bet they's open up their API to any site that wanted to use it. Here's to hoping.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of a rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
Reply
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of a rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
Reply
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: iPhone
AppleInsider › Forums › Mobile › iPhone › Apple, Google in secret talks with mobile payments startup BOKU