No NFC for the iPhone, and here's why

I, like many others in the retail industry, was hoping the iPhone 5 would include an NFC chip that enabled a mobile wallet.  In previous postings I've discussed the possible business case and the foreshadowing of Passbook, but it wasn't meant to be.  A few weeks ago I was considering all the rumors, and it suddenly occurred to me that it wasn't in Apple's best interest to support an NFC chip.  Yes they have patents in this area, but perhaps they are more defensive than indicating new development.

Steve Jobs wanted to always win, but more importantly he didn't want others to win at his expense.  It drove him nuts that Windows was more successful than MacOS, and clearly he was bothered by Samsung and other handset manufacturers copying the iPhone.  But he was most angry at Google for their stewardship of Android.

If the iPhone 5 had an NFC chip, who would benefit most?  Google Wallet is far and away the leader in NFC-based payments via mobile phones in the US.  Even without Steve at the helm, Apple isn't going to do anything to help Google.  Plus Apple doesn't like to do things in an open way -- then they lose control.  For example, you don't see iPhones with expandable memory, replaceable batteries, or USB connectors.  Adding a standards-based NFC chip just isn't in their nature.

So I don't think Apple is holding back on the NFC chip for the 5S or 6.  It just isn't going to happen unless they can figure out how to prevent others from benefiting from it.

All the other handset manufacturers will use NFC as a differentiator, which may be enough to keep Google and Isis afloat, and of course Square and PayPal aren't betting on NFC anyway.  This isn't the end of alternative payments, its just a major speed bump.

Comments:

David Dorf suggested, "But he [Steve Jobs] was most angry at Google for their stewardship of Android."

Angry about Stewardship?
This is the most odd thing I ever heard of!
This is absolutely wrong.

Google sat on the Apple Board of Directors, Google was a sub-contractor and participator in the secret Apple iPhone product... Google used that secret knowledge as the basis to purchase the company which created Android, for the purpose of producing a knock-off phone, and release their phone in under a year after Apple released the iPhone and build the consumer smart phone market.

Ironically, had Google not stolen Java from Sun, Sun would have probably still existed, and Oracle would not have purchased them.

You (in addition to Sun) since you work at Oracle should be a little angry at Google, for the thievery, since it negatively affecting both company bottom lines.

I guess Oracle could always lay-off those employees who are not upset with Google's corporate theft, in order to balance their sheets.

Posted by guest on September 12, 2012 at 10:40 PM CDT #

OK, so "stewardship" was a very generous take on the situation. So much for "don't be evil." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don%27t_be_evil)

Posted by David on September 13, 2012 at 07:04 AM CDT #

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David Dorf, Sr Director Technology Strategy for Oracle Retail, shares news and ideas about the retail industry with a focus on innovation and emerging technologies.


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