Mobile payments in Starbucks stores, launched in January, were a natural extension of the coffee vendor's Starbucks Card, which itself evolved from a stored-value device to a payment method, says digital strategies chief Adam Brotman. Meeting customer demand for quicker payments is working out well, Brotman says. "Within nine weeks of the national launch of mobile payment, customers in stores paid more than 3 million times using our mobile payment app, and this number continues to grow at a steady rate."
Mobile marketing and ad tech company Velti is acquiring customer relationship management specialist Air2Web, whose clients include AT&T, Comcast, American Express and Citigroup. "With mobile playing an increasingly central role in consumers' lives, 24-hours-a-day, the need to manage relationships with consumers via the mobile channel has become business critical for global brands," Roy Satterthwaite, Velti senior vice president of global marketing, said of the $19 million acquisition.
Publishers looking to target consumers on mobile sites say that the persistent problem with the medium is that there is not enough demand to fill the growing supply of ad opportunities. Slate Group vice president for business development Brendan Monaghan said, "Mobile is still so early in development and at Slate we are still trying to figure out a way to capture readers on mobile. We are not quite there yet with monetization."
Telefonica Digital, a new unit of the giant multinational operator, has announced a mobile content deal with Twitter that will allow British users to quickly share photos on the social network through Telefonica's MMS service. Meanwhile, the Telefonica I+D research lab is partnering with augmented-reality platform Layar to merge the two companies' visual search products.
Facebook risks losing ground on mobile devices, where it's "just another app" and not the dominant platform, as it is online, says ABI Research senior analyst Aapo Markkanen. What Facebook needs is a specific mobile strategy to be competitive in the future against such promising mobile entrants as Google+ and Apple's upcoming partnership with Twitter.