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Portland Software, eCHARGE Form Partnership

Portland Software, a developer of digital commerce solutions for the Web, entered a partnership with eCHARGE, developer and operator of an Internet billing system that uses a customer's telephone bill.

Software publishers, distributors, and resellers using Portland Software's ZipLock 3.0 System for Electronic Software Distribution (ESD) commerce can now offer eCHARGE, a payment option that bills Internet transactions directly to a customer's telephone bill.

"The integration of eCHARGE's telephone billing system with Portland Software's ZipLock System offers a new level of consumer safety and convenience for obtaining software applications and other digital products over the Web or from CD," said Ron Erickson, chairman of eCHARGE.

The eCHARGE starts when a customer chooses an item they wish to acquire and download from a participating vendor Web site or from a selection available on CD-ROM. The ESD-ready item then displays purchase instructions, presenting eCHARGE as a payment option.

Once the customer selects eCHARGE, the billing system and ZipLock System 3.0 work together seamlessly to approve payment, issue a digital license certificate as proof of purchase, provide access to the digital products, and bill the entire transaction to the customer's phone bill. No pre-approved customer account is necessary.

"We are simplifying the way people can receive software applications and other digital items through completely automated, online electronic purchasing and fulfillment," said Al Miksch, president of Portland Software.

Designed specifically for Web merchants including software vendors and publishers, Internet service providers, chat sponsors, and game sites, eCHARGE automates connecting the consumer over a direct phone line for the financial transaction. Merchants who offer eCHARGE as a payment option collect their eCHARGE-recorded revenues on a monthly billing cycle.