E-stamps delivers the postage

Strikes deals that will put e-postage on shelves in thousands of stores across the nation and in cyberspace.

SAN MATEO, Calif. -- E-Stamp Corp., which sells postage over the Internet, said Thursday it had struck deals that will put its product on shelves in thousands of stores across the nation and in cyberspace.

A deal with Ingram Micro (NYSE:IM), the world's No. 1 computer wholesaler, will give privately held E-Stamp access to major retail chains such as Staples (Nasdaq:SPLS), Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) and Office Depot (NYSE:ODP), Justin Thomas, E-Stamp's director of strategy and planning, said in an interview.

E-Stamp lets customers use the Internet to buy postage, which is stored in a secure "vault" that plugs into a user's computer. When postage is used, a bar-code is printed directly on the envelope and the amount deducted from the vault.

The company, which is partly owned by software giant Microsoft Corp , had signed up 10,000 customers since it was approved by the United States Postal Service on Aug. 9 to offer its product, Thomas said.

E-Stamp also signed a partnership with Digital River Inc., which distributes software online, to offer its product through Digital River's Web stores, Thomas said.

"The partnerships are in place to reach even more people even more quickly," he said.

The deals turn up the heat on the only other company approved by the Postal Service to offer online postage, Stamps.com Inc., which also has several distribution deals and plans a nationwide launch on Sept. 27.

Thomas declined to give further details, citing the mandated quiet period before the company's initial public stock offering.


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