eBay Won't Be Center Stage at Next Week's X Innovate DevCon
By Ina Steiner
While the X.Commerce Innovate Developers Conference next week encompasses all of eBay Inc. properties, don't expect eBay.com to take center stage. Rather, eBay Inc.'s new X.Commerce unit will unveil how it is weaving together PayPal and Magento into an ecommerce fabric that other companies can plug into - a commerce operating system encompassing online, mobile and offline retail.
Unlike last year's X Innovate conference that was solely for PayPal developers, this year's DevCon will focus on the merging of all of the developer programs, eBay Inc.'s offering for mid-range merchants, and the launch of the X.Commerce commerce operating system.
For the past 2 years, PayPal has demonstrated how opening up its platform allowed it to make money on applications launched by third-party developers, who take all of the risk of testing their entrepreneurial vision. PayPal loses nothing if the outside developer fails, but makes money on all of the projects that succeed. And third-party developers are bringing PayPal to places it might otherwise not be, including social sites and in mobile apps.
By acquiring Magento, an open-source ecommerce platform, PayPal can extend that open model exponentially. Magento has over 4500 modules in Magento Connect, a sort of iTunes for online merchants looking to add capabilities such as merchandizing, SEO or analytics to their Magento storefronts.
At the conference in San Francisco next week, eBay Inc. will unveil X.Commerce Fabric, or X Fabric, the new commerce operating system on which the company is pinning its hopes. X.Commerce, headed up by X.commerce VP and GM Matthew Mengerink with the help of X.Commerce CTO Neal Sample, is creating middleware - software that provides a link between separate software applications, sometimes called plumbing.
The X.Commerce OS will also connect other acquisitions, including Milo, Where and RedLaser, to extend the fabric to mobile, local, and point-of-sale.
eBay sellers will look at the announcements coming next week and won't see much of an immediate impact on their businesses. X.Commerce is focused on Magento and is counting on other storefront and shopping cart solutions to integrate with the fabric, joining a diverse group of applications available in an iTunes-like ecommerce app store.
If all goes as planned, independent system integrators (SIs) will thrive by helping merchants put together the components that works best for their individual needs - shopping cart, SEO, shipping, procurement, inventory management, customer service tools and more.
As far as X.Commerce is concerned, eBay is a great channel for merchants to list inventory, but the sweet spot is Magento, which comes with an existing ecosystem on which it can continue to build.
About the author:
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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