Tech Heavyweights Form M-Commerce Alliance

Jan 23, 2002 (07:01 PM EST)

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Several technology heavyweights have formed an alliance to try to simplify the process of using cell phones to make purchases.

The mission of the consortium, called PayCircle, is to develop standard application programming interfaces between mobile commerce payment systems and standard security measures. PayCircle will focus on developing APIs that are based on Internet languages such as Java, XML, and Simple Object Access Protocol.

The mobile commerce consortium was formed by Hewlett-Packard, Lucent Technologies, Oracle, Siemens, and Sun Microsystems. As a board member, Sun will bring a suite of products, technology, and services to PayCircle, including Java, XML, and other Internet protocols, says Craig Miller, product-line manager of Sun's wireless business group.

Both HP and Siemens are members of Mobey Forum, a similar mobile commerce consortium, which involves several European financial-services firms. Mobey developed a mobile payment architecture but has had little success in garnering the interest of wireless operators, says Tower Group senior analyst Ed Kountz. PayCircle will have to do a better job of signing up wireless operators if they are going to take mobile commerce to the next level, he adds. PayCircle's members are more aligned with wireless operators than are the financial-services firms in Mobey, Kountz says. "With HP straddling both camps, we will increasingly see some interaction between PayCircle and Mobey."