eBay and PayPal developer programs to merge

The eBay and PayPal developer programs will be merged in order to establish a common platform that will allow external programmers to create applications with both e-commerce and payment capabilities for a broad variety of devices.

"Online and offline commerce are converging into a 'new retail' experience, powered by mobile, local, social and digital innovation. In this new environment, people want a seamless and integrated shopping and payments solution that works anytime, anywhere -- on any connected device," Matthew Mengerink, who will lead the combined developer program, wrote in a blog post.

Mengerink didn't provide specific details about the process to combine the programs and the platforms, but said more details will be forthcoming and that eBay will hold a single developer conference this year, Innovate, in October.

The developer programs provide a variety of tools and resources for third-party programmers to build complementary applications for PayPal and eBay merchants. Over the years, eBay, which owns PayPal, has said that these external programmers are key to the success of its eBay marketplace and PayPal online payment system.

Gartner analyst Ray Valdes said there are two ways to view the decision to fuse the developer programs.

"The first is that this represents consolidation and cost optimization, joining together in an uneasy fashion two developer communities with differing needs," he said via e-mail.

The other possibility is that the combination is "synergistic" and capitalizes on a good market opportunity through a broad, integrated offering.

"I think there is a kernel of truth in both interpretations, and the final result depends upon how well the combined team executes," Valdes said.

The news comes only weeks after Osama Bedier left his post as chief of the PayPal developer team to take a job at Google. Mengerink was named his successor.

Over the past year, PayPal has taken on a bigger profile in eBay's financial picture, driving a lot of the company's growth, while revenue from the core eBay marketplace business seems stuck on a plateau.

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