It was reported over the weekend that Apple has hired Benjamin Vigier to become the company’s first “Product Manager of Mobile Commerce,” a sign of things to come on the NFC front.
Though it’s still speculation, Vigier has a long history in various mobile commerce and technology positions — his most recent being work on PayPal Mobile, Sprint MyMoneyManager and the iPhone-based Starbucks Card, just to name a few. Before that, he spent two years heading SanDisk’s mobile commerce and near-field communication efforts in addition to over a year doing NFC for Bouygues Telecom. Put simply, he’s more than qualified to lead Apple’s entrance into a very important market going forward.
Back in April, we reported on a patent Apple applied for that depicted what they called an “NFC-based digital event ticketing solution,” though at its core it was Apple’s homegrown method for deploying NFC within the iPhone and its other mobile devices. A use example Apple gave in the patent filing was to “enable iPhone users to securely purchase tickets (via iTunes) to major musical or sporting events and then use the iPhone itself as the e-ticket required to gain admission.” It’s not hard to see what Apple is trying to do here: they already control the hardware and software, now they need to leverage their massive iTunes account database for mobile commerce push.
Whatever its future plans may be, Apple is quickly on the move to make something happen in the space and they’ve placed trust in Vigier to lead the charge. It should be interesting to see what happens next.