I’ve covered this topic quite a few times
- 12 June tweet “Apple’s strategy brilliance: stay away from delivering experiences you can’t control.”
- “Battle of the Cloud Wallets” in May
- Apple and NFC Part 2 (Feb 2012)
- Apple and NFC Jan 2011
As most of us have known Apple has been out of the NFC game for some time (18mo+). It’s just amazing that the mainstream press can be so caught up in a disinformation hype cycle that seemed to have been started by some kind of patent application. Yesterday’s WSJ had a fantastic article on Apple’s plans.
What makes for a “successful” consumer wallet? From previous post:
Customer Trust, Customer Control, Convenience, Ubiquity (opposite of lock in), Intuitiveness, Experience in Use (buying, redeeming, accessing, ..), Security,
If I have a wallet that only accepts 3 cards that are not accepted at any of the top 20 retailers (ie ISIS), it is of little value. Why not let consumers control what goes in? This is where carriers must get to in order for NFC to survive. Even then, NFC phones are far from my recommendation. After all if your payment information is locked in a mobile phone how do you use it when you are at your computer buying something on Amazon? Locking information in a phone is just plain stupid in the age of the cloud.. most agree that individuals should have a their information in a cloud they control. The NFC zealots reading this blog will respond that it NFC doesn’t require a network and is more reliable… my response, the POS and payment terminals are connected.. NFC doesn’t need to hold the card in the SE.. it just needs some sort of identifier.. or in the Square cardcase example no NFC at all just your voice print. After all if there is no auth from the payment network.. the transaction will not happen.. so something is connected in 99%+ of card transactions.
I’m very impressed that Apple’s exec team has kept the iPhone away from NFC… strategy brilliance is an understatement. By expanding Apple’s ownership of Digital Goods (old blog here with financials) into mCommerce (ie physical goods bought via phone) and narrowly aligned Physical commerce (ex. Ticketing) they can maintain ownership of the entire consumer process.. from marketing, sales, purchase and “delivery”.
Apple’s unique ability to garner 75% of mobile handset profits is shifting from DESIGN to VALUE ORCHECTRATION (see blog). No one can orchestrate value in NFC (see 12 party mess). What is truly ironic is that as the carriers spend hundreds of millions of dollars on NFC and their walled garden strategy to “force control”, Apple and Google will be further ahead in coordinating value in new networks. This value delivery outside of the mobile network will further cement carriers roles as dumb pipes (related blog). This seems to support my hypothesis (often stated) that it is nearly impossible for legacy networks to adapt in delivering new value propositions.