In Mobile Payments Dogfight, Fujitsu Chooses VeriFone

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Inventory. Employee management. Couponing. Those are just some of the tasks that point-of-sale systems at the country's largest retailers are expected to manage.

With that in mind, POS software provider Fujitsu is leveraging VeriFone's (PAY) GlobalBay technology in order to bring mobility to its customers' cash registers. That software connects tablets and other mobile devices to a system that then tracks customer purchases and facilitates payments, among other functions.

VeriFone has been working with Fujitsu for the past several months to integrate the two companies' systems.

"You are able to do everything a cash register can do," says Sandeep Bhanote, VeriFone's vice president and general manager of mobile retailing solutions. "You have back-office operations like clocking in and clocking out, and you have inventory. There are all the levels of sophistication that traditionally exist at a Tier 1 or Tier 2 retailer."

GlobalBay software already has a history with big-box retailers.

At the beginning of the year, the terminal maker announced that outdoor equipment chain Eastern Mountain Sports was piloting its iPad software at four of its stores with the aim of a larger deployment later on.

Clothing retailer Guess was a part of similar tests

Indeed, while the partnership isn't particularly groundbreaking, the announcement underscores the importance of mobile payments either on the floor or in the checkout aisles of the retailers that Fujitsu has traditionally served.

"There is a point at which your Square-type solution, or your VeriFone Sail solution, isn't industry grade enough and you probably have to have something more robust," says Nick Holland, a senior analyst at Yankee Group.

VeriFone has been adamant that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to mobile commerce. It currently is supporting two different hardware products for retailers that want to accept mobile payments.

VeriFone's original Square-competing offering, PayWare Mobile, is currently geared toward larger sellers.

For instance, Oracle, which recently built its own in-store mobile point of sale system, is using PayWare Mobile's enterprise hardware and software to allow its retailers to complete transactions.

In the meantime, VeriFone's SAIL system focuses on a more casual card acceptor.

That device – and its accompanying open source software – can be custom fitted for a small business after a developer tailors it to work with traditional terminals and point of sale systems.

Still, both VeriFone and Fujitsu are going to be fighting off a plethora of startups and technology vendors.

"Mobile payments technology at the point of sale is a very competitive market now with many new upstarts and incumbent providers like NCR, Wincor and IBM/Toshiba," says Wedbush senior analyst Gil B. Luria. "I would expect it to be an uphill battle for this partnership."

Regardless, Bhanote is convinced that the robustness retailers require of their POS systems will bolster VeriFone's work with Fujitsu.

"If you are a Walmart, if you are a retailer that already has Fujitsu [point of sale software], you can't just download an app off the app store and say: ‘Let's run Square,'" Bhanote says. "All those little nuances, those little complexities, get carried over into the mobile device where before it was impossible... This gives retailers a really easy and simplistic way to utilize mobile, as opposed to this being a long, painful exercise."

Fujitsu is just one of the first POS software providers, he says, that VeriFone plans to partner with.

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