Mobile software developers increasingly use common platforms for payments and other functions. And many of those developers rely on Braintree, a company eBay is purchasing for $800 million.
Braintree has "built a really simple product that developers find very attractive," said John Donahoe, eBay's president and chief executive, in an Oct. 16 conference call to discuss third-quarter earnings.
Over the past several years, PayPal has offered its own technology platform for developers to use, but "When we finally looked at it side by side, we decided we were better off taking Braintree's [technology] and merging ours into it," Donahoe said. Braintree's Venmo technology is "pretty compelling" in its ability to support one-click payments across apps that use it, he said.
"It helps us build almost a payments OS," he said.
Though Braintree will operate separately from PayPal, eBay's payments unit expects to benefit from its affiliation with Braintree, said Bob Swan, eBay's chief financial officer, during the call.
As more developers adopt Braintree's platform, "over time Braintree gets visibility to all transactions," giving PayPal improved economics when it is used as a funding source, Swan says.
The Braintree purchase is being funded in part by eBay's decision to sell its investments in the online commerce sites ShopRunner and RueLaLa, Swan said. ShopRunner, which is run by former PayPal president Scott Thompson, recently disclosed that it received new investments from Alibaba and American Express.
EBay's net income rose 15%, to $689 million, from the same period a year earlier. EBay's revenue in the third quarter rose 14%, to $3.9 billion, from a year earlier. Its revenue from payments rose 19%, to $1.6 billion, from a year earlier.
The e-commerce giant predicts fourth-quarter revenue of $4.5 billion to $4.6 billion, which fell short of analysts' average projection of $4.64 billion, according to Bloomberg data.
EBay stood by its earlier prediction that its marketplace and payments businesses would each handle $20 billion in mobile commerce and payment volume this year.
EBay and PayPal are also attracting a different sort of user that doesn't provide revenue as quickly as its earlier audience, Donahoe says.
"A lot of new users are coming to us via mobile, and I really like the demographics" of younger users and consumers from emerging markets, he said. But younger people have less disposable income, and people in emerging markets have less exposure to eBay and other PayPal merchants, he said.
"What we're doing about it is making sure we have the best inventory available" in new markets, Donahoe said. "Something like the [new] Russian site really increases the richness of selection that Russian consumers have, for instance."
PayPal expanded to Russia in the third quarter, and has attracted 1 million active accounts, he said.
Donahoe highlighted some of the major improvements the company has made to PayPal's technology in recent months. The redesigned PayPal mobile app allows consumers to order food ahead of visits at over 9,000 restaurants, he said. Its new Beacon device sends a Bluetooth low energy signal to allow PayPal's app to check in automatically at certain PayPal merchants.