Wednesday Grok: Kaching — ring in the laughter, get in on 'The Joke'

Mobile payments, structural separation and Larry's latest smack down

Someone in marketing at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) obviously thought ‘Kaching’ — you know, the sound of a cash register ringing up a sale — was a clever name for a mobile payment system. We're not sure if laughing at your customers as you take their money is a good idea. Don't worry though, there are plenty of others in on ‘The Joke.’

Take Woolworths for instance. You know, the guys who own all those booze outlets and poker machines, they've hopped right in. Larf guv'nor? We almost cried.

Woolies (Woolworths) expanded heavily into the vice and misery sector under the stewardship of former CEO, Roger Corbett, who is now the chairman of Fairfax Media, so let's start with its coverage. Or at least we would if it had bothered covering the major set piece local IT story of the day. Disappointing, sure, but here's a great article on the SMH about Demi Moore's weight loss to compensate. It's the kind of quality journalism you might read while standing in line and waiting to buy your cooking sherry at the supermarket. And if Sir or Madam wants to purchase that magazine using their shiny new iPhone 4S, well kaching!

So instead we’ll have to start in front of the Australian's pay wall. Describing the announcement, the <i> Oz</i> wrote, “The Commonwealth Bank today said it would launch a full commercial NFC payment system built around the iPhone and Mastercard's PayPass contactless payment platform. The ‘wave and go’ mobile payment system has been integrated into the CBA's upcoming mobile banking application for the iPhone called Kaching which is scheduled for commercial launch in the next couple of months."

CBA estimated around 42,000 NFC readers rolled out, but if anyone asked how many went into booze barns and pokie bars the answer wasn't recorded. Although, The Australian notes that BWS kaching!, Dan Murphy's kaching!, and Woolworths Liquor outlets kaaaaaching! are on the list.

Over at The Register (oh the irony), Richard Chigwin notes that Kaching is tapping into iPhone's local market success and that the application will only be offered on IOS 4.3 and above. It is fair to state that Richard is one of the best IT writers in Australia, but Grok reckons, given the demographics, there will be an awful lot of Android devices floating around the gaming floor at the Rooty Hill RSL, so watch this space.

Chigwin also notes that CBA is a little fuzzy on the details around security, particularly what happens if you lose your mobile phone. In fairness, the bank explains that the app will "only be authorised to a single handset, and does not have local storage of any banking won’t be accessible on lost or stolen phones." Trust them, they’re Bankers.

Not biting

Telstra’s ‘nothing to see here folks, move along’ approach to negotiating with the ACCC over structural separation isn’t quite washing with the regulator, according to the AFR. (First 20 article views free courtesy of the genius of Grok). Michael Cosgrove, the ACCC’s group general manager, said in a parliamentary sitting in Sydney yesterday that the regulator has “an entire branch dedicated to negotiating the final version of the document but that significant unresolved issues remained.”

Here’s Grok’s tip. Ignore the posturing and public pronouncements in the months ahead. You will grow old and crazy trying to read those tea leaves. Instead, understand this. The deal will get done, and Telstra will get most of what it wants but they will shed the necessary crocodile tears along the way to give the government the fig leaf of cover it desires. It was ever thus.

Take that, Evil Benioff Man

So Oracle's Larry Ellison has gone and bought himself some nice new Cloud, and all it cost him was $US1.5 billion to get his hands on RightNow. But there may be more to it than that. According to Computerworld, “While RightNow has sold cloud-based CRM (customer relationship management) applications, Oracle already has such offerings. But of late, RightNow has repositioned itself as a "customer experience management" provider, focused more on helping companies improve customer support in call centers, social media sites and the web, rather than just tracking sales cycles.”

The acquisition is seen as a smack in the chops for, run by Larry’s latest nemesis (and former prodigy) Marc Benioff. Readers will recall Ellison and Benioff’s recent spat at Oracle Openworld. So perhaps it's just Larry’s way of showing the youngster how a hairy man really holds a grudge. In the article, analyst Denis Pombriant, founder of Beagle Research, described the move as shrewd, saying “it brings a lot of current thinking about customers and designing the customer experience into Oracle.”

Put away that credit card and help drive a giant locomotive through the Australian's pay wall, at least for IT content, by clicking here. No kaching! for you, Mr Murdoch.

Andrew Birmingham is the CEO of Silicon Gully Investments. Follow him on twitter @ag_birmingham

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Tags commonwealth bankCBACommonwealth Bank of Australiamobile paymentmobile paymentskaching

More about Andrew Corporation (Australia)Australian Competition and Consumer CommissionCommonwealth Bank of AustraliaCommonwealth Bank of AustraliaMastercardNFCOracleSalesforce.comTelstra CorporationWoolworths

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