Google Wallet was an early lesson in mobile payments. You could even say it’s where Apple learned how to make Apple Pay so good. In the early days of Wallet, a challenge came from carriers who wanted a piece of the mobile payment pie. That scheme was called Isis, later re-named to Softcard to distance the service from Middle East politics. Softcard was integral in freezing Wallet out on your Android phone, but the tides may be turning; a new report says Google is looking to buy Softcard.
Softcard was a joint venture led by Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile. In banding together to run their own mobile payment processing, the carriers also helped to boot Wallet off devices.
As a result, neither mobile payment plan flourished, but neither went away. As Apple Pay became popular, Google Wallet saw a resurgence. Softcard sat dormant as bloatware, with the company seeing their fair share of troubles lately.
Speaking to TechCrunch, sources claim Google’s motives aren’t revenge-based. They want patents, or maybe more importantly, patent applications filed by Softcard. Softcard has roughly 120 patents in all.
The deal is reportedly worth just shy of $100 million.
Google refused comment on the situation, issuing their typical “we don’t talk about rumors” response. Softcard gave a stale recounting of their desire to re-position while serving customers.