|Tue Nov 3 2009 22:28:00|
PayPal Mania Leads to Talk of eBay Corporate Name Change
By: Ina Steiner
CNBC reporters were among those swept up in the PayPal Mania taking place in San Francisco at the first dedicated PayPal developers conference. Even attending virtually, I could sense that something was different about this DevCon despite the lack of Cirque du Soleil acrobatics or "Cheers" impersonators of previous eBay/PayPal shared conferences. It was as if the smell of money was in the air, even before the Venture Capitalists show up for their panel tomorrow.
In an interview with eBay CEO John Donahoe from the floor of the convention center, a CNBC reporter asked, "When does eBay decide to turn its back on marketplaces and just become PayPal Inc.?"
John Donahoe said he could care less about the name of the company (ouch). The DevCon was all about opening up the PayPal platform, which he compared to Apple's opening of the iPhone to third-party applications. In his keynote address this morning, Mr. Donahoe said he had given PayPal an unlimited budget to hire the people to make it happen.
Mobile payments was top of mind, and Mr. Donahoe said the eBay iPhone app will do $500 million of volume this year. PayPal demonstrated a mobile payment toolkit to embed payments directly into mobile applications - starting with iPhone. During a demo at the conference, one developer showed off ShopSavvy, which allows users to scan a product barcodes at a retail store and find the best prices available online and at local retail stores. "Previously, if a user found the best price at an online retailer, they would have to go to that retailer's Web site to complete the purchase. Now, PayPal users can purchase products directly from the ShopSavvy application."
PayPal also announced that starting in Q2 2010, it will offer pricing for developers building applications in markets that are traditionally served by cash and checks, such as rent, consulting businesses or payroll.
PayPal gave away free netbook computers to all attendees and had recruiters on the show floor - it's hiring for all areas: software engineering, architecture, strategy, program management, and it's expanding at all of its U.S. offices, including those in San Jose, Maryland, Phoenix, Austin and Omaha.
The excitement of today's PayPal Developers Conference reminds me of the early conferences eBay hosted for its community of users. RIP eBay Live, long live PayPal DevCon.
PayPal DevCon Twitter Hashtag: #ppxi09