Mobile

PayPal boss isn’t scared of Apple Pay’s peer-to-peer payments

Apple Pay Terminal
iOS 11 features a big Apple Pay update.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

iOS 11’s Apple Pay Cash feature will support peer-to-peer payments, but PayPal’s CEO wants people to know that its similar Venmo app hasn’t been “Sherlocked.”

That refers to an app or service that is developed by a third-party, only for Apple to start providing exactly the same functionality in a system update. It’s a devastating move that can have a disastrous impact on companies.

Here’s why PayPal’s CEO doesn’t think Venmo will fall into the same trap.

“We’re technology agnostic,” Dan Schulman said in an interview with the U.K.’s Telegraph newspaper. “Many individuals are [running a] multi-operating system; they can have an Android phone, a Microsoft PC and an Apple tablet. You don’t want a different payment methodology on each of those things … you want a consistency across that. We try to offer a consistent value proposition, that’s end-to-end, across operating systems and device type. It’s a powerful advantage we have.”

So in essence, he’s saying that the Venmo money-transferring app — which is the market leader in the U.S. and may soon launch elsewhere in the world — is safe because Apple is only letting people send money inside its product ecosystem.

It’s a fair point to make. Apple Pay also hasn’t gained traction at quite the rate that some Apple watchers thought that it would. Then again, history is full of people who assume that their product is Apple-proof; only to receive a rude awakening when it turns out not to.

As Steve Jobs once told the developer of Karelia, the company which inspired the original usage of “Sherlocking” after its most crucial features were borrowed by Apple: “You know those handcars, the little machines that people stand on and pump to move along on the train tracks? That’s Karelia. Apple is the steam train that owns the tracks.”

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Cult of Mac

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