ACI Worldwide (ACIW) recently unveiled a partnership with Microsoft (via the Microsoft Partner Network) which will boost the ACI Universal Payments technology and be powered by Microsoft Azure. ACIW provides the payments software considered to be the back-end “pipes and plumbing” underlying the payments ecosystem for all its major participants. The move predominantly reflects the payments industry’s rapid adoption of technology deployed in the public cloud – an interesting turn of events given that former president and CEO, Phillip Heasley, was steadfast in his belief that ACI payments technology should be run only from ACI-owned data centers.
The card payments sector has been hitting headlines lately in relation to Facebook’s June announcement revealing details of its Libra cryptocurrency. To garner an increased sense of trust, Facebook convinced incumbent network payment providers, such as Visa, Mastercard, and PayPal, to sign up to the Libra Association, a not-for-profit which oversees the development of the token, the reserve of real-world assets that give it value, and the governance rules of the blockchain. Is this a sensical move for incumbent network providers considering they will have to eventually compete against new blockchain-based systems?