Downloadable card-acceptance applications for such handheld mobile devices as Apple Inc.'s iPhone are unlikely to take business away from point-of-sale equipment manufacturers that sell wireless-enabled point-of-sale terminals, observers generally agree.

Conversely, the applications may "wind up expanding the card-acceptance base rather than pirating the traditional merchant space" because they may entice some small merchants to accept card payments in addition to cash and checks, says Chris Justice, president of North America at France-based Ingenico S.A. "It's not a cannibalization of existing products," he says.

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