Verifone Inc. announced the creation of a software systems division that puts its electronic commerce ambitions in a new strategic light.

As division general manager C. Lloyd Mahaffey, also the company's chief marketing officer, will oversee Internet commerce, consumer systems, and enterprise systems as well as consulting and systems integration, software development, marketing, and distribution support services.

The realignment underscores what Verifone has been saying about carrying over its dominance from point of sale terminals to virtual payments. Mr. Mahaffey said "only Verifone has all of the pieces" to integrate physical and cyberspace payment systems.

The Redwood City, Calif., company's share price, as high as $52.625 during last year's Internet frenzy, is back in the mid-$30s, with a P/E multiple around 23. It wants its investment in Internet commerce seen not as a gamble, but of a piece with its long-term mission.

Mr. Mahaffey, an ex-Apple Computer executive, has risen quickly since chairman Hatim Tyabji recruited him in late 1995 to head the consumer systems unit, which brought out the Personal ATM smart card device last fall.

Roger Bertman, who was highly visible as founder and head of the Internet commerce unit, has returned to his vice president-corporate development role "to seek out the next big market sector," Mr. Mahaffey said.

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