Ecommerce giant Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) is refining a business that is working to enable the sale of stuff in the real world. "We are building products and services which will delight billions of customers as they buy and sell things in the real world (as opposed to online)," the company said in a recent job posting for its Amazon Local Commerce business.
"My team's job postings have been updated with our new team name & vision: Amazon Local Commerce. Hiring devs/TPMs!," tweeted Charlie Kindel, whose title at Amazon is "Director, Consumer Products - Amazon Local Commerce." Kindel previously headed Microsoft's Windows Phone developer program and aided in the launch of Microsoft's overhauled operating system for smartphones, Windows Phone 7. Kindel joined Amazon a year ago to work on "something secret."
An Amazon spokesperson said that Amazon Local Commerce is a new name for a business, Amazon Payments, that Amazon has been pursuing for seven years. The business recently posted jobs indicating an interest in mobile: "You must be passionate about building innovative native mobile experiences (iOS, Android, and Kindle) and your cloud service designs must scale to billions of customers," reads one job posting for Amazon Local Commerce.
Amazon Local Commerce is yet another market for Amazon, which built its business around its ecommerce website and has since expanded into tablets, original video content and, most recently, streaming devices for TV. Amazon has been widely rumored to be planning to release a smartphone, but the device has yet to materialize.
It appears that, with Amazon Local Commerce, the company will position itself among mobile payment companies like PayPal, Square, Google Wallet and Isis, the mobile payments joint venture from AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T), Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) and T-Mobile US (NYSE:TMUS) that launched nationwide in mid-November.
Many expect the mobile payments space to grow into a massive business: For example, Juniper Research predicts annual retail payments on mobile handsets and tablets will reach $707 billion by 2018, and that the number of contactless transactions via mobile handsets will exceed 9.9 billion globally by 2018. However, today the mobile commerce and payments space is littered with a wide range of technologies and business models as players seek to stamp out a viable, long-term strategy.
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Article updated April 4 with clarifications from Amazon.