According to TechCrunch, Apple and Google are vying to acquire Boku, a San Francisco-based mobile payment company. The website reported that Boku president/CEO Mark Britto and co-founder Ron Hirson have met with Apple several times, while other Boku senior managers have met with Google director of engineering Michael Morrissey. The number of meetings is also fueling rumors of a bidding war that might go as high as $450 million. Google, in particular, is looking for a way to streamline its arduous Android Market app purchase experience.
Boku, which has received $38 million in venture capital money, has an appealing method for mobile payment: Users simply type in their phone number and are billed on their monthly statement, rather than use a credit card or PayPal account. Boku has already inked deals with AT&T and Vodaphone, and its technology is in use by 220 operators in more than 60 companies. Previously, Boku acquired mobile payment companies Paymo and Mobillcash.
Google is also integrating mobile advertising network AdMob with its AdSense advertising solution, which will allow some iPhone and Android application developers to display AdSense promotions when AdMob inventory is unavailable. The result will be to enable Google advertisers to extend the reach of their campaigns to the mobile apps in AdMob’s network. Publishers using a recent version of the AdMob SDK do not need to update existing code; they will receive a single check representing revenues from both accounts.