Shortly after Apple announced at the WWDC that they would take Apple Pay to the web, tech major IBM and e-commerce portal Shopify have confirmed that they will be integrating the payment option into sites under their influence.
IBM’s WebSphere and Commerce Cloud client base of over 12,000 will be offered the Apple Pay integration, and Shopify will support integration for the 275,000 merchants on its own platform this year.
Apple plans to introduce a mobile and web browser version of the mobile wallet later this year, and the two deals will be a significant validation of their decision to take on PayPal at some level. Of course, PayPal’s presence in 203 countries and a user base of 179 million is not something Apple is going to decimate overnight, but it puts them squarely in contention with the payment giant on their own turf.
One of the technical limitations at this point is that Apple device users will still need to provide authentication using TouchID with their Apple Pay account linked to it, and they will need to use Apple’s Safari browser on their iPad, iPhone or Mac in order to authorize the payment. Naturally, this greatly reduces the usage potential of Apple Pay on the web, and this is something they will need to address if they want to appeal to a much larger market. Options like PayPal are not browser-constrained, and this is one of their biggest advantages.
In terms of integration, IBM will be offering a widget for Apple Pay, while Shopify’s merchant base can either use the built-in option or choose from a range of payment gateways including Stripe and Authorize.net.
Apple’s entry into the web space with Apple Pay signals a basic shift in the company’s willingness to open up their technology to integration with other systems. If this venture is as successful as Tim Cook hopes, it will create a precedent that Apple sorely needs to emerge from its shell of exclusivity and embark on a new path of inclusiveness.
Who knows, if it eventually promises to become a long-term, dependable revenue stream for Apple, they may well consider offering it to non-Apple users.