9to5 Mac reported on Tuesday a “three-part vision” from Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) retail chief Angela Ahrendts. Clearly, revamping the Apple stores was part of this vision, as was an emphasis in China. However, the third vision included a focus on mobile payments, a clear threat to eBay (NYSE:EBAY).
Over the last three months, there have been countless whispers and speculation regarding Apple’s interest in payment processing, but nothing as concrete as 9to5 reported on Tuesday. The payment processing industry is a large, important, and fast-growing segment of the market, especially to current market leader eBay, or PayPal.
Last year, PayPal accounted for more than 40 percent of eBay’s $16 billion in revenue, and with growth of nearly 20 percent, it’s expected to become a $10 billion business by next year. Furthermore, PayPal has created this revenue from its 143 million users, and with high margins, it has become eBay’s single most important segment.
However, eBay’s important PayPal segment could be facing serious competition in the coming months, not only from Apple, but also Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) among others. Reportedly, Facebook is planning to launch a mobile payment services, and might even take the plunge in offering bank-like services. Facebook is already close to launching its service in Ireland after seeking approval from the Central Bank of Ireland, which will allow customers to store, pay, and exchange currency on its platform.