Monday, June 20, 2005

Google plans pay service to rival PayPal -WSJ

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Google Inc. (Nasdaq:GOOG - news) this year plans to offer an electronic-payment service that could help the Internet-search company diversify its revenue and may heighten competition with eBay Inc.'s (Nasdaq:EBAY - news) PayPal unit, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

Exact details of the search company's planned service are not known, the report said, but quoted people familiar with the matter as saying it could have similarities with PayPal, which allows consumers to pay for purchases on Web sites by funding electronic-payment accounts from their credit cards or checking accounts.

A Google spokesperson contacted by Reuters declined comment.

For Google, based in Mountain View, Calif., a payment service could represent a significant expansion beyond online advertising, which generated 99 percent of its $3.2 billion in revenue last year, the Journal said. Online-payment providers typically take a commission on each transaction.

Depending on the exact details, Google's move could potentially threaten eBay's successful PayPal service, which generated $233.1 million, or 23 percent of eBay's revenue in the first quarter, the newspaper reported.

Rumors about a new Google payment service escalated following a panel discussion at a Piper Jaffray Internet conference on Thursday, the newspaper said.

At the conference, Scot Wingo, chief executive of ChannelAdvisor, a Morrisville, N.C. e-commerce consulting firm, said he believed the payment service would be launched soon, according to the newspaper.

In an interview, Wingo said he based his statement on questions from retailers with which his company works, according to the Journal.

Wingo said the retailers have asked him whether ChannelAdvisor would support the service, which some believe goes by the code name Google Wallet.

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