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Digital River Down on Microsoft Plan

Posted by iMark - 2005-11-29

Digital River Inc. stock fell Monday after Microsoft Corp. announced it will begin providing companies with free software deployment tools, which could limit the growth of a deployment deal between the two companies.
 
Shares of Digital River, which is based in Eden Prairie, Minn., fell $2.72, or 9.9 percent, to $24.83 in midday trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market. The 52-week low of $22.43 was set May 13.

On Monday, Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft, the world's largest software company said the program will offer technical tools and resources to help companies deploy and manage its products.

This is seen as "putting a dent" into Digital River's deal to deliver Microsoft software in Europe, according to Stanford Group analyst Rod Ratliff. Investors were hoping to see the relationship expand worldwide.

Digital River spokesman Bob Kaleiber said that Microsoft's deployment program is aimed at small- to medium-sized businesses, where Digital River deploys to the consumer. Therefore the program wouldn't have an impact on the companies' relationship.

"It's a non-event for us," Kaleiber said. "Its program is aimed at the host service market, which is not what we do."

Detwiler, Mitchell, Fenton & Graves Inc. said Digital River's largest client, Symantec Corp., has been working on a number of internal enhancements, which could further internalize the company's software distribution, Fenton & Graves said.

Kaleiber said Symantec's changes would have little impact on Digital River's relationship with the maker of antivirus software.

"It's like seeing a snowflake and calling it a blizzard," Kaleiber said.



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