It would be easy to regard Hypercom Inc. as the Avis, MasterCard, or Buffalo Bills of the transaction terminal market - a perennial success but for the fact that when the final numbers were in, someone else was always on top.

For Hypercom, Verifone Inc. is Hertz, Visa, or the Dallas Cowboys, its No. 1 perch looking hardly more endangered than it did a decade ago when Verifone virtually owned a business it was credited with inventing.

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