Last year, there was one subject that nobody could get enough of in the mobile industry: near field communication (NFC)-powered mobile payments. Google launched its digital Wallet service, and Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T announced an unparalleled joint venture to get in on the action as well. So a company trying to get in on the ground floor of NFC sure seemed like a good idea, but the problem is you never know what the future will bring.
And unfortunately for ViVOtech, the future brought an extreme decline in excitement for NFC payments and a very sluggish path to bringing this to the masses. Vivotech raised tens of millions of dollars mainly to manufacture credit card terminals that could accept mobile payments. Now, however, it is looking to sell off that huge chunk of its business. It will still exist, but only as a much smaller software company.
Instead of NFC, which requires users to have a special piece of hardware in their phone as well as an accepted credit card account, and also required retailers to have the necessary equipment, and not to be outdone also requires users to have a special app installed on their phone, the mobile payment space has become dominated by mobile credit card terminals, allowing peer-to-peer payments and also software-based alternatives that don’t require new hardware. Poor Vivotech…