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There’s an interesting note on François-Henri Pinault’s official bio page on the Kering website.Aafter a the usual title/school/professional background stuff, the last line is: “He takes a personal and professional interest in sustainability and the development of e-business.”
It’s the last bit that struck me, given that on Tuesday M Pinault (left, with wife Salma Hayek), through his holding company Artemis became a meaningful investor in Square, the mobile payments company started by Twitter guy Jack Dorsey.
M Pinault was staying mum about the private share purchase, but it makes sense to me on many levels, besides the obvious one above. And I think it may hint at some tantalising possibilities for the future. (Tantalising to speculate on, anyway.)
If you’re wondering why Jack Dorsey’s payments company Square hasn’t launched in Europe, here’s one possible answer. The market is just too competitive.
Already several European companies do what Square does – allowing small businesses to process card payments without a monthly contract. They are now engaging in a price war, ripping up the 2.75 per cent transaction fee that Square made standard.
By the time he reaches the counter, his picture has magically appeared on the iPad the shop uses as its payment terminal. The assistant identifies him by his photo and taps the screen to confirm a sale, and Mr Miller picks up his beverage. As he walks out, a receipt drops on to his iPhone.
Are smartphones about to swallow the payments business? Two events this week have given sharply contradictory answers.
The first was the $3.25bn valuation put on Square , a Silicon Valley payments start-up, by the company’s latest round of fundraising. This represents a huge bet, given that Square is a business with annualised revenues of only about $200m that is battling with the giants of the banking, retail and mobile industries.
Coffee and techies go together like donuts and policemen, one the voracious consumer of the other. They have named programming languages after the stuff. And so the alliance between Starbucks and Jack Dorsey’s Square mobile payments start-up seems quite natural.
Starbucks has never been shy of experimenting with technology, having been one of the first US coffee shop chains to offer customers free wi-fi access. Starbucks also has its own mobile app, which allows customers to pay for their coffees using a phone. Although these mobile payments are still just a tiny fraction of overall revenues, it is considered one of the most successful mobile payments systems in use so far.
Sweden’s iZettle operates a payment system for small or nomadic merchants – be they market traders, window cleaners or conference-goers – through a card reader that attaches to the bottom of an iPhone.
Facebook is updating its photo viewer, ZDNet reports. Facebook Photos will look cleaner, easier to view and bigger.
The Atlantic’s Alexis Madrigal reports that the mobile payment service, Square, is growing through out the US. Data from the company shows that “just about every major city and plenty of smaller places have someone using the device”.
The Square personal commerce system, which allows iPhone and iPad users to accept credit cards, could also make it easy for people to convert stolen credit card information into cash, security researchers said on Thursday.