Just as Facebook Barges In, Fortumo Debuts Its Cross-Browser, HTML5 Payments System

Weeks after Facebook threw down the gauntlet by expanding its own mobile platform, Fortumo is bringing in its own HTML5 payments system.

The Estonian company, which gained traction among Android developers as an alternative for in-app payments before Google launched its own official system, is moving into HTML5. Gamers on mobile web apps will be able to pay for virtual goods and have it charged to their monthly phone bill. Fortumo says its payments system should work across all platforms including iOS, Android, Symbian, Samsung’s Bada and more.

However, it appears that the revenue share may be less attractive than what Google’s own in-app payments system and Facebook are providing in giving developers 70 percent of every transaction. Fortumo can give up to 70 percent as well. But if the company has to hand over a percentage to the carrier or pay for SMS fees, the developer’s revenue share could fall to below 50 percent.

Founded four years ago, Fortumo built out a business that catered to both feature phones and eventually to Android-based smartphones. It has 59,000 developers and provided the payments infrastructure for Rovio’s smash hit Angry Birds to sell virtual goods on Android.

While third-party payment companies like Fortumo might be able to cater to the lower-end of the market, it seems as if the platforms themselves like Google Android are doing an increasingly competent job at handling mobile payments. A few developers on the Android platform like Gameview Studios, Storm8 and Spacetime Studios have started to tell us that their average revenue per use on the platform is better than on Apple’s iOS. Facebook’s HTML5 play is still very early. But with more than 800 million users and a maturing payments platform, the company should have an at attractive amount of credit card data relative to any third-party HTML5 payments player out there at the time being. One other Fortumo competitor, Zong, was acquired by eBay for up to $240 million in cash.