Microsoft Jumps On The Mobile Payment Bandwagon

Windows Phone 7 stocking in AT&T store

Photo: Microsoft via Twitter

The next version of Microsoft’s Windows Phone software will support software that lets users pay for products in retail stores by swiping their phones against a cash register.The update could come out as soon as this fall.

Bloomberg reports that the next update to Windows Phone 7 will support near-field communication (NFC), which is also being adopted by Google’s Android OS and perhaps by Apple in the next version of the iPhone.

The Windows Phone update is reportedly codenamed Mango, and could appear as soon as this September, although Microsoft’s struggles with a minor Windows Phone update this spring may push the major Mango update out until next year.

NFC allows a small chip in a phone to exchange simple information with other very close range. Its most obvious use — which Google CEO Eric Schmidt talked up last November — is for retail shopping. Instead of paying with a credit or debit card, users will be able to swipe their phone against a cash register or other device.

But NFC could also be used as a replacement for documents like passports and drivers’ licenses, car keys, and anything else. All of this will require support from a wide range of vendors, but it’s an incredibly diverse technology — which is why phone makers are apparently racing to support it.

Now don’t miss: NFC Mobile Chips Will Change Everything.

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