The eBay and PayPal developer programmes will be merged in order to establish a common platform that will allow external programmers to create applications with both e-commerce and payment capabilities for a broad variety of devices.
"Online and offline commerce are converging into a 'new retail' experience, powered by mobile, local, social and digital innovation. In this new environment, people want a seamless and integrated shopping and payments solution that works anytime, anywhere, on any connected device," Matthew Mengerink, who will lead the combined developer programme, wrote in a blog post.
Mengerink didn't provide specific details about the process to combine the programs and the platforms, but said more details will be forthcoming and that eBay will hold a single developer conference this year, Innovate, in October.
The developer programs provide a variety of tools and resources for third party programmers to build complementary applications for PayPal and eBay merchants. Over the years, eBay, which owns PayPal, has said that these external programmers are key to the success of its eBay marketplace and PayPal online payment system.
Jerad Schempp, CEO of HostedSupport.com, provider of a hosted customer service application for eBay merchants, is optimistic about the plan "due to the efficiencies it will provide working with one consolidated platform instead of the two separate programmes. I think this is a good thing, although we'll need to see how details such as the merged programme personnel [and other aspects] shake out".
Gartner analyst Ray Valdes said there are two ways to view the decision to fuse the developer programmes. "The first is that this represents consolidation and cost optimisation, joining together in an uneasy fashion two developer communities with differing needs," he said.
The other possibility is that the combination is "synergistic" and capitalises on a good market opportunity through a broad, integrated offering. "I think there is a kernel of truth in both interpretations, and the final result depends upon how well the combined team executes," Valdes said.
PayPal spokeswoman Amanda Pires said that the company isn't ready yet to provide details about the integration plans, but pointed out that the idea isn't to tear down what exists and build something from scratch. "We will build and enhance upon what we have," she said in a phone interview.
Developers who only want to work with payment APIs (application programming interfaces) or marketplace APIs will be able to do so. "It's payments, it's shopping, plus a combination of them," she said.
The plan makes sense to IDC analyst Al Hilwa, who sees it as eBay's recognition that there is more value in a combined programme with a more streamlined effort to publish APIs.
"It is smarter to have a consolidated eco-system for developers if at all possible," he said.
The news comes only weeks after Osama Bedier left his post as chief of the PayPal developer team to take a job at Google. Mengerink was named his successor. Over the past year, PayPal has taken on a bigger profile in eBay's financial picture, driving a lot of the company's growth, while revenue from the core eBay marketplace business seems stuck on a plateau.
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