notice. In August, its announcement of an Internet Commerce Division seemed to catch, if not accelerate, the wave of interest in cyberspace payments - while sending a strong signal that Verifone would not be resting on its laurels as the leading maker of point of sale card-authorization terminals. This month, Verifone launched a Consumer Systems Division to promote transaction and information services for a broad array of remote devices like screen telephones, cable television boxes, and wireless communications equipment. Verifone hired the new division's vice president and general manager, C. Lloyd Mahaffey, from the outside, another indication of this Redwood City, Calif., company's willingness to act on its pattern-breaking principles. Hatim A. Tyabji, chairman, president, chief executive, and self-styled change agent, took a different tack with the Internet Commerce Division. He named a Verifone veteran, vice president Roger B. Bertman, as general manager. Mr. Bertman, in turn, oversaw the company's first significant acquisition - Enterprise Integration Technologies, the Internet software pioneer that comprised the nucleus of the division. Mr. Mahaffey, Verifone's newer "acquisition," reports directly to Mr. Tyabji. The group is up to about 12 people, one-fourth the size of Internet Commerce. But Mr. Mahaffey said because of its youth, "size is not relevant yet." He and Mr. Tyabji indicated Consumer Systems is going to be a big part of Verifone, which still gets the bulk of its nearly $400 million in annual revenue from traditional terminal installations. The division "reflects Verifone's commitment to thinking 'outside the box' and driving transaction automation beyond our traditional markets," said Mr. Tyabji. "It also demonstrates the growing breadth of Verifone's solutions and the variety of system platforms, programs, and channels through which we will deliver these solutions to our customers and end- users." He might have said the same about Mr. Mahaffey, 40, whose marketing and technology credentials touch the necessary bases. In the 1980s, Mr. Mahaffey spent five years with Apple Computer Inc., rising to head of its $130 million federal systems group. He also worked on emerging multimedia technologies for another personal computer pioneer, Commodore Business Machines, and in 1990 became a founder and chief executive officer of Start Inc., the marketer of a cobranded credit card that let customers build annuity accounts as they used their cards. For two years before joining Verifone, he was chairman and managing partner of a consulting firm, the Dynamis Group. "I grew up in technology," Mr. Mahaffey said, recalling his role a decade ago as director of Apple's U.S. education group. "I watched technology make a difference in people's lives. We put it in front of school children and watched their test scores go up. "Verifone is moving its traditional strengths in payment technologies onto new platforms, and I see this as another opportunity to make a difference in people's lives." Mr. Mahaffey said his division will focus initially on an existing Verifone product, the screen-enhanced telephone known as the Omni VuFone. The company harbors no illusions about overnight revolutions in consumer technology. It has been waiting years for a screen phone market to materialize, but now views the VuFone as a building-block for ubiquitous electronic delivery. Drawing on its transaction automation expertise and the secure payment technologies of the Internet Commerce Group, Verifone's tentacles could reach consumers in their homes, offices, or in transit via cellular phones, personal digital assistants, or something like the "wallet PC" that Microsoft Corp. chairman Bill Gates posits in his book "The Road Ahead." The services could range from banking and bill paying to entertainment and home security. "The consumer strategy is new for Verifone," Mr. Mahaffey said. "But the direction is clear. Otherwise I wouldn't have left to do this."
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