Apple ($AAPL) has acquired Mobeewave, a software startup that essentially transforms iPhones into digital cash registers and point of sales (PoS) devices without any additional hardware. The Apple-Mobeewave deal potentially counters Square ($SQ) for some types of cashless and mobile transactions.
This is M&A deal 313 that ChannelE2E has covered so far in 2020. See the full M&A deal list here.
Apple Acquires Mobeewave: iPhones Become PoS Devices
Bloomberg, which first reported the deal, says Mobeewave's technology:
"lets shoppers tap their credit card or smartphone on another phone to process a payment. The system works with an app and doesn’t require hardware beyond a Near Field Communications, or NFC, chip, which iPhones have included since 2014."
Key Mobeewave investors included Samsung Venture Investment Corp., NewAlpha, Mastercard and Forestay Capital. The startup announced a $20 million Series B round in January 2019.
Apple reportedly paid around $100 million to acquire Mobeewave. For Apple, that's a relatively small "tuck in" deal -- considering the iPhone and Mac giant had $193.8 billion cash on hand as of July 2020, according to the company's most recent earnings statement.
Apple, Big Tech and Antitrust Regulators
Apple will need to move carefully with Mobeewave. Antitrust watchdogs have been closely tracking Big Tech companies such as Apple, Alphabet's Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Microsoft. Regulators are striving to ensure Big Tech businesses don't leverage dominant market positions or anti-competitive practices to gain unfair market advantages in additional sectors.
In the case of mobile payments, we'll be watching to see if Apple maintains Mobeewave's support of third-party systems such as Samsung POS. Also, we'll be watching to see if Apple continues to re-sell Mobeewave alterantives such as the Square Reader for Magstripe.
Square is expected to announce Q2 2020 earnings on August 5, 2020, according to that company's website.