A few years ago, after Amazon threw developer-friendly Amazon Payments into the mix and Google made things more interesting with Google Checkout, the Web payments throne was seized from PayPal and it was every payment service for themselves.

Today it’s still that way, but it seems PayPal has finally upped the ante. The service is opening up its platform to third-party developers this fall, meaning global payment options (different countries, different currencies, different devices) can be plugged into applications from the start.

Get on First Name Basis

Internet, meet new platform PayPal X and its debut tool, Adaptive Payments. All developer-related information will be placed on PayPal’s domain,, and Adaptive Payments brings a ton of cool new functionality (for PayPal), including:

  • Send Money: Peer-to-peer payments will take place on multiple platforms
  • Split Payments: Say a handful of people are splitting the commission on a sale. Instead of sending one payment per recipient, users how have the option to split the total amount as many times as needed
  • Payment Preapproval: Once you log into a system and confirm prepayments, the API will automatically transfer funds based on pre-set specifications
  • Payment Aggregation: To reduce the costs of payment transactions, users will be able to aggregate multiple payments into one lump transaction

Oh Em Gee, X!

In addition to good news for developers and smaller companies, it’s also really, really good news for PayPal for reasons other than the obvious. During the developer training session for the new platform, PayPal got an endorsement from the one and only Microsoft, who announced the future support of PayPal X in its own cloud-computing platform, Windows Azure.

Additionally, LiveOps, an outsourcing marketplace and platform, has already been using Adaptive Payments for several months. The reported advantage of using PayPal, according to LiveOps, is that there is no credit card or financial information stored on LiveWork, with security being outsourced to PayPal. Does anyone else smell a major change in eCommerce?

What now, Google? Amazon?

Actually, whether PayPal’s new offerings will hold a candle to Amazon’s FPS pricing or the great Google brand is unclear, and we won’t find out for sure until the platform is released this November, but the possibility is there and the inclusion of third party developers will certainly bring some interesting things to the table.