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Apple Squared? Mobeewave Acquisition Hints at Contactless iPhone Payments

Much of the technology world is puzzling over Microsoft’s moves toward a purchase of popular and controversial social media app TikTok. But more discerning observers may spend more time considering the ramifications of Apple’s $100 million acquisition of Mobeewave.

Based in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Mobeewave enables contactless payment acceptance simply by tapping enabled smartphones (or credit cards) to another enabled device. Mobeewave’s app leverages NFC (near field communications) technology, a feature that has been on the iPhone since 2014, and could allow the devices to be more effectively used by merchants to process in-person payments. This spring, the company introduced its latest contactless payment solution, Mobeewave Limitless, that provides the varied authentication, regulatory controls, and Cardholder Verification Method (CVM) standards required by regulators in North America, Europe, and APAC when it comes to supporting high value contactless transactions.

As such, the acquisition puts Apple in competition with Square, which has been a leading innovator in providing merchants with a hardware/software combination to enable smartphone and tablet payment processing. The option of a hardware-free alternative – sans dongles and readers – could make Apple an instant player in the small business payments space.

Typically tight-lipped about its acquisitions, Apple said in a statement that it “buys smaller technology companies from time to time and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.” We do know that Mobeewave’s team will be retained and will continue to operate out of its Montreal headquarters.

One thing that’s especially interesting about the acquisition is that Mobeewave had agreed last fall to integrate its contactless payments technology into Samsung mobile devices, and had expected to deploy the solution worldwide this year. Samsung is also an investor in Mobeewave, having played a leading role in the Canadian company’s Series B round in January. Mobeewave has raised a total of $26.6 million in funding.

Photo by Kenneth Carpina from Pexels