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Square vs. VeriFone: A Long Rivalry

Pictured: Square's Jack Dorsey (left), VeriFone's Douglas Bergeron (Images: Bloomberg News)

In the Beginning In the Beginning

When Square launched in late 2009, it seemed a vulnerable target. The small, no-frills card reader appeared to have little going for it besides the star power of its CEO, Jack Dorsey, who co-founded Twitter. VeriFone already had a competing product in the works. (Image: Bloomberg News)

Payware Premieres Payware Premieres

VeriFone's first card-reading phone attachment, Payware Mobile, seemed like the more complete package. While Square still faced questions about its security and business model, VeriFone promised the same level of security if offers in its other payment hardware, including encryption.

Shelf Space Shelf Space

VeriFone was the first to sell its mobile card reader on the shelves of Apple stores. Square followed it about a year later. (Image: Bloomberg News)

Spotlight on Security Spotlight on Security

The companies' rivalry got ugly in 2011 when VeriFone CEO Douglas Bergeron launched an aggressive attack on Square's credibility, accusing the company of selling a device that could be used for illegal card-skimming. VeriFone went so far as to offer a demo card-skimming app to major card issuers to prove its assertion. (Image: ThinkStock)

Valued by Visa Valued by Visa

Soon after VeriFone attacked Square's security, Visa came to Square's defense by investing in the startup. At that time, Square also vowed to add encryption to its mobile card reader. (Image: Bloomberg News)

Setting Sail Setting Sail

VeriFone eventually chose a new approach and a new product. In May 2012, VeriFone launched Sail, a smaller card reader for micromerchants. VeriFone made Sail's software open-source, so merchants could adapt it to use with their inventory software.

Starbucks Starbucks

In August, 2012, Square got another major investment $25 million from Starbucks, which agreed to use Square's software and processing services. Howard Schultz, Starbucks' chariman, president and CEO, joined Square's board as part of that deal. (Image: Bloomberg News)

Sail 2.0? Sail 2.0?

In December, VeriFone again changed its approach to mobile payments, announcing it was leaving Square's direct-to-merchant sales turf. It later sold the Sail assets.

Since Square launched its mobile card reader, VeriFone Systems has worked feverishly to slow its rival's runaway momentum. The news that VeriFone is changing its strategy with its Sail reader is the latest in a long line of assaults and retreats.

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