EBay Buys Bar-Code App

Online auctioneer eBay (EBAY) acquired RedLaser, a mobile application that will let customers scan bar codes to list items faster on its online auction site and to compare prices.

RedLaser and its imaging technology were developed by Occipital, a startup in Boulder, Colo., said Mark Carges, eBay's chief technology officer, in an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek.com. Neither company would comment on the acquisition's financial terms.

The most-visited U.S. e-commerce site, eBay plans to add bar-code scanning to help sellers on its site reduce the time it takes to list items. The feature is licensed in mobile apps offered by such retailers as Target (TGT), eBay said. Eventually the feature will be included in eBay's other apps so shoppers can scan an item and compare prices.

Phone Shopping

"Consumers are voting with their wallets and telling us what they want, and they want to shop with their phones," Carges said. "What better tool to use than a bar-code scanner to see what an item is going for?"

Goods sold through mobile applications will more than double, to $1.5 billion of EBay's revenue this year, from $600 million in 2009, the company said. Mobile commerce is estimated to reach $119 billion in sales by 2015, up from $18.3 billion in 2009, according to ABI Research of Oyster Bay, N.Y.

The acquisition of RedLaser is the second led by Carges, who became chief technology officer in 2008. EBay bought Positronic, a developer of predictive computer algorithms, in December 2008.