Mobile Acquisitions: Alcatel-Lucent Buys OpenPlug, VeriFone Buys WAY Systems

Today brings us a small slew of mobile related acquisitions. Starting with atel-Lucent who look to extend their range of mobile applications through an acquisition of OpenPlug through the company’s ELIPS Studio. This product is a developer tool, which allows developers to write an application once and have it translated automatically across multiple platforms.

From the Alcatel-Lucent,

While demand for mobile apps is peaking, so is the fragmentation of mobile development platforms and tools,” said Michael Cote, analyst for Redmonk. “This makes it very expensive to target all devices and can lead to putting all your eggs in one, often tightly controlled basket, like Apple’s, or doing a least-common denominator, mobile web app that can’t benefit from full native device access. A tool that can target all platforms is hugely needed in this space, and OpenPlug should work well with the total mobile app development portfolio Alcatel-Lucent is putting together.”

Thanks to OpenPlug, service providers, enterprises and developers do not have to be selective about which of the many mobile platforms they will write applications for, thus limiting their potential for service adoption and revenue potential. OpenPlug’s mobile software turns every device into a smart device. It allows developers to write applications once and convert application code into native software that runs on any leading mobile device operating system, including iPhone®, Android®, Symbian®, Windows Mobile®, and Linux®.

OpenPlug’s ELIPS Studio makes use of Adobe Flex as a development environment, using ActionScript as its native language. It then compiles the code for the native platform of the phone it’s running on, so perhaps it will use a Just-In-Time compiler much like Java. This means that developers will not be able to use custom development kits, but will be able to take advantage of the features of different phones.

While ELIPS doesn’t currently support the Windows Phone 7, OpenPlug and Alcatel have begun talks with Microsoft.

Also in the mobile acquisitions front, VeriFone has acquired WAY Systems as an inroad into mobile POS technology. From  VeriFone,

Over the past five years, WAY has built up a customer base of more than 25,000 mobile merchants who use the company’s compact mobile POS technology and gateway services. VeriFone will immediately take over support of these merchants within its expanding PAYware Connect Gateway infrastructure. Additionally, VeriFone will offer continuous non-stop support for all existing WAY mobile systems, bolstered by VeriFone’s extensive mobile portfolio, including PAYware Mobile and VX Evolution secure payment systems.

Originally a seed company of VeriFone’s founder, Bill Menlton, WAY Systems is coming back into the fold. With them comes a technology that many mobile companies are champing at the bit to become part of—a flow of money from merchants to mobile users. Many different products have hit the market of late but nothing has really taken hold yet, so every mobile producer will want to get in on whatever becomes the next big thing in this department.

If mobile payments could promise both security and ease, many people who own mobile phones—an almost ubiquitous type of “electronic jewelry” now—would probably jump at the chance to stop having to carry a wallet of plastic and do their transactions with their phone.

VeriFone bought WAY Systems for a gross maximum of $9 million dollars–$6 million up front, and $3 million after a year if certain conditions are met.

About Kyt Dotson

Technology and civilization walk hand in hand and civilization is nothing without the skin of society, brushing up against itself, speaking strange nothings across dimly lit avenues and computer screens. If we're going to understand ourselves in this digital era, it will be through watching the adoption of technology by people to express themselves as people. I am an anthropologist and an author of science fiction and fantasy--and with my technology, I hope to open up new and exciting worlds that will not just enlighten the humanity of my friends and fans but also educate and enhance the expression of their own personhood. Find more of my work on Google+; send tips to @kytsune.