updated 11:00 pm EDT, Mon September 26, 2011
COO does not see value proposition
Amid the buzz surrounding near-field communications (NFC) features on the latest smartphones, Square COO Keith Rabois has dismissed the importance of the transaction technology. Speaking at GigaOM's Mobilize conference, the executive said his company does not believe NFC is "likely to resonate with mainstream Americans."
"It's not really clear who it helps, wether consumers or merchants," Rabois added. "I've never met a single merchant in the US who says I want this NFC thing."
The executive argues that Square's approach is superior because it does not require users to adapt their behavior. Rather than using wireless communication between two devices, the Square dongle plugs into a headphone jack and swipes standard cards directly from an iPhone, Android handset or other smartphone.
Rabois suggests he does not see a "value proposition" in NFC, which he describes as good for "cocktail party chatter" but ineffective as an alternative to existing transaction technology.
The executive further claims that many NFC proponents have ulterior motives; he accuses Google of viewing the technology as a way to track user behavior rather than a tool to help merchants.