Hardly a day goes by without another announcement of a joint venture, strategic alliance, merger, or acquisition involving companies trying to make the electronic connection to their customers.

The myriad of combinations and permutations for making the electronic link, of course, involves access devices such as personal computers, screen phones, and interactive televisions. But then there are the third party processors, or channel operators, that try to facilitate the connections for the purveyors of products and services.

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