Google Bolsters Mobile Payment Power with Zetawire Acquisition

By Cindy Waxer December 15, 2010

Google’s buying spree continues with the recent acquisition of Zetawire, a Canadian startup specializing in mobile payments.

Little is known about Zetawire although Mashable reports that an analyst with 451 Group reveals that the fledgling company received a patent for “mobile banking, advertising, identity management, credit card and mobile coupon transaction processing.”

In August alone, Google purchased six companies, a single-month record for the company. Throughout the year, Google has purchased more than 23 companies, compared to its previous annual record of 16 in 2007. Many of these acquisitions relate to social networking including SocialDeck, Angstro, Jambool, and

In fact, Google’s acquisition pace is significantly greater – almost double – of the next most acquisitive tech company, IBM.  Google’s mix of acquisitions is quite varied combining larger acquisitions ($100 million plus) and also doing smaller talent acquisitions (the popularly coined “acqu-hire”), according to CB Insights.

Google is smart to jump on board the mobile payment industry. Research firm Aite Group predicts that mobile payments will account for $214 billion in gross dollar volume by 2015, up from $16 billion in 2010 -- a 68 percent compound annual growth rate between 2010 and 2015.

In June, Google rolled out the new Android Payment Extension for the Google Checkout Store Gadget which allows Checkout customers to make purchase from their phones. The extension helps merchants quickly set up a store and accept payments via Google Checkout and Android.

In November, Google revealed that the latest incarnation of its Android smartphone software will support a technology that lets people use their mobile devices to make on-the-fly purchases.

According to a 451 Group analyst, as posted on the research firm’s blog, the acquisition of Zetawire “bolsters Google’s position in the coming wave of NFC and the phone as a device for payments, tracking and identification. For Google, the timing of the deal couldn’t have been better. Although we understand that the transaction closed in August, just earlier this month Google released its Nexus S smartphone, which has built-in NFC capabilities.”

Edited by Jaclyn Allard

TechZone360 Contributing Editor

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