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RealTime IT News

Palm Floats Some E-Sites on Digital River

Looking to shore up its sales overseas, Palm Monday said it has inked an outsourcing deal with Digital River to build and maintain nine e-commerce sites.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based handheld computer maker said the sites will augment its in-store consumer business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Specifically, the sites will focus on the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Italy, Ireland, Switzerland, Austria, Luxembourg, Belgium, Holland, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Portugal and Greece. To accommodate these international markets, Palm says the sites are designed to display in English, French, German, Italian and Spanish and to transact in a combination of Euros and pounds sterling.

Europe has been a tough sell for Palm. The company consistently retains its number one sales spot in the world for PDAs, but the latest stats from research firm IDC's "Worldwide Handheld Qview," Palm's global sales are nearly double the number of handhelds compared to its closest competitor, Hewlett-Packard . But this time last year, Palm saw a major dip in its Euro sales because of the iPAQ and other handheld up-and-comers like Sony and Dell Computer .

"We were looking to strengthen the e-marketing capabilities on our sites and create more opportunities for online promotions that drive growth. Digital River's solution fit our needs," Palm vice president Vesey Crichton said in a statement.

In addition to launching and hosting the Palm sites, Minneapolis-based Digital River is providing order management, fraud prevention, site merchandising, reporting, product fulfillment, e-marketing, multi-lingual customer service and value-added tax management.

"By leveraging its international e-commerce channels, Palm has been able to round out a whole product set for consumers of handheld computers, making it available 24X7 in five languages," said Digital River software and digital commerce services president Jay Kerutis.

The country-specific Palm Web sites also offer complementary accessories. In addition to handheld computers, visitors to the sites will find cases, covers, keyboards, chargers, cradles, books, videos and a selection of third-party software titles that are compatible with Palm OS.