According to the latest rumors circulating in Silicon Valley, Google is mulling a possible acquisition of NFC payment provider Softcard. Perhaps that name doesn't sound familiar—it used to be Isis until that unpleasantness in the Middle East forced a name change. Apparently those mega-creepy ads didn't do the trick because the rumors point to a very low sale price.

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Isis was started in 2010 as a joint venture of AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile. This meant Google Wallet's NFC functionality was barred from the secure element in phones on these carriers. It was another few years before Isis was available in any appreciable number of retail locations. Wallet later bypassed the secure element requirement in KitKat, but the damage was done. Google Wallet is only now gaining some traction and Isis/Softcard has been even less successful.

The company went through a series of layoffs recently, and unverified reports claim it has been losing as much as $15 million per month. TechCrunch claims the purchase price could be under $100 million, which is a big loss considering the hundreds of millions invested by carriers. Neither Google nor Softcard are talking, but I don't see any other way out for Softcard. They tried and it didn't work. A Google acquisition is the best thing that could happen from Softcard's perspective.

[TechCrunch]