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Digital River Plans Expanded B2B E-Commerce Architecture

Digital River Inc. said it plans to implement a major expansion of its global B2B e-commerce system architecture, and hired a new chief technology officer to help make it happen.

To lead the company's system architecture strategy and development, Digital River appointed Gary Howorka, Ph.D., as chief technology officer. Howorka is a former director with Ernst and Young's IBM e-business framework group.

Over the next few months, Digital River said it will offer expanded B2B e-commerce functionality to support intra-and inter-company ordering systems; customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) system integration; and, new technology to support e-marketplaces.

The commerce system upgrades are part of Digital River's strategy to offer a wider range of B2B e-commerce service offerings and to help mid-to-large sized traditional manufacturing, retail and distribution companies in leveraging the Internet to increase sales revenue and business efficiencies.

The moves come as the company's stock is trading near its 52-week low of $5.50. At one time it had traded as high as $43.62. For the quarter ending March 31, the company reported a $12 million loss on higher revenues.

"As new technologies become available and new customer demands arise, Digital River will continue to focus on broadening the capabilities of our global commerce system to provide our clients with the industry's best commerce technology infrastructure and services," said Joel Ronning, chief executive officer of Digital River.

Digital River provides complete, outsourced e-commerce technologies and services including site development and hosting, order management, integration with enterprise systems, digital product delivery and integration with physical fulfillment partners, e-marketing and customer service.

"By embracing emerging standards such as XML/XSL and aligning with top technology industry partners, we plan to roll-out features such as new ERP integration points, distributed component architectures and customer-facing technologies that allow our clients to use the Internet as a tool to support their entire business model," said Howorka.

Howorka also has served as chief technologhy officer for ZoneTrader.com and was executive vice president and co-owner of a software company that developed performance management solutions for clients. He replaces Kelly Wical, who will continue to work with the company as an adviser.