Pursuing its ambitions in the mobile technology market, US data management software and services company Sybase has acquired German mobile banking technology specialist paybox Solutions for an undisclosed sum.
The acquisition of paybox was closed on 30 December 2008, only six weeks after the two companies announced that they had entered into a partnership agreement.
“Mobile payments are an increasingly critical part of mobile computing, a core component of our Unwired Enterprise strategy,” said Marty Beard, president of Sybase 365, Sybase’s mobile messaging solutions unit into which paybox will be integrated.
“The sheer number of people with access to a mobile phone in both developed and emerging markets around the world, means the mobile device has the potential to become a dominant vehicle for consumers to connect and transact conveniently, anytime, anywhere,” Beard added.
Though Sybase 365 has offered mobile banking solutions since October 2007, its major strength lies in its mobile messaging service which, according to Sybase, processes some 200 billion messages annually via 700 mobile network operators (MNO) with a total subscriber base of 3 billion.
“By combining mobile messaging and mobile payments offerings, it will be difficult for any competitor to match our mobile commerce services,” said paybox CEO Eckhard Ortwein.
The significance of paybox to Sybase is clearly its depth of technological know-how that has earned it a leadership position in the mobile banking and payments market.
Founded in 1999 with the backing of Germany’s Deutsche Bank, paybox has played a pioneering role in the mobile banking market including the launch in Germany in May 2000 of the world’s first major mobile payments service.
By late-2001 paybox had extended its service to Austria, Sweden, Spain and the UK and by 2003 had a total of 750,000 registered users.
However, Deutsche Bank’s withdrawal of support in 2003 necessitated a strategic rethink by paybox which turned its attention from the retail consumer market to the commercial market.
Refocused, paybox has gone from strength to strength, garnering big-name MNOs such as O2 and Vodafone in Germany; mobilkom and ONE in Austria; Swisscom in Switzerland; Vodafone in Egypt; and Maxis in Malaysia as users of its technology.
In addition, MasterCard selected paybox interactive voice response solution as a key element of its MoneySend service that enables domestic and cross-border person-to-person funds transfer via mobile phones.
In total some 5 million consumers are currently using paybox solutions in Europe, America, North Africa, the Middle East and Asia.