Microsoft is the latest to join the mobile payments game. The company is thought to be working to integrate Near Field Communication (NFC) into its Windows Phone 7 operating system, according to a Bloomberg report. Alongside Google, Apple and Nokia, Microsoft might be the next to test the technology.
The software giant holds 14 patents referencing NFC; the most recent was awarded on March 22, according to the U.S. Patent Office.
Nokia has already committed itself to the technology protocol and has promised to make NFC a standard feature on all its Symbian smartphones this year. With Microsoft entering the game, the NokiaSoft alliance could definitely mean a huge number of NFC-enabled devices in the days to come.
Gartner predicts huge growth in mobile payments. The market researcher expects mobile payments to rise from $32 billion in 2010 to more than $245 billion in transactions in 2014. With the latest IDC predictions that Windows Phone will overtake Apple by 2015, there's a lot of action to look forward to.
However, IDC estimates that Microsoft will just have just 5.5% market share. Android will have 39.5%, Apple will have 15.7%, and RIM a 14.9%, all of whom are already part of the mobile payments derby.
Earlier this week, we reported Google is teaming up with MasterCard and Citigroup to launch a contactless payment system in the US this year.
Meanwhile, Gemalto, the world leader in digital security announced that it has become the first company to be certified by MasterCard for NFC payments. The software is embedded in the phone's SIM, but of course can only work if the phone itself actually has the NFC technology built into it.
In the UK, Gemalto is already known to partnering with a global, first-tier financial institution and a world leading mobile operator; to implement the new MasterCard certified mobile payment application and carry out the solution's first mass commercial roll out.