Remember those halcyon days when you could turn on your monitor, log onto the Net and peruse to your heart's content, comforted by the fact that you had escaped the cut-throat world of IT marketing? Those days are gone forever now and it seems the champion of that era is now the target of unabashed criticism in every thing it does.
Netscape, once the darling of Wall Street financiers, is now battling to survive against the wave that is Microsoft and to a lesser extent Lotus.
Its products are being slammed as technologically inferior and its CEO seems to spend less time evangelising his company's wares and more time in fast-food restaurants during this critical period.
But does Wall Street really have a grasp on what is going on, and should the world be listening to analysts who may not be technically able to distinguish between a good groupware program and a bad one? SuiteSpot may not have been up to the competition - but it's not finished yet!
At the same time, other analysts (who, unfortunatley for Netscape, weren't available to comment when we were compiling our report on the company's fortunes) don't appear to believe Netscape deserves the hammering it seems to be getting. Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, both respected financial institutions, are far less critical of Netscape's future and a lot more forgiving on the shortfalls of an as yet incomplete groupware offering.
For corporates who are looking at a groupware solution to meet their needs, it would probably be good advice not to examine the performance of the companies on the markets simply because the results are influenced by an array of parties not necessarily associated with the company's ability to create a decent product.
Netscape has been bloodied in the browser arena fair and square and is definitely approaching harder times than it has been used to. But it is not afraid of a fight and has come to market with innovation and a fair degree of revolution in a very short period of time. The company may be being clubbed by a much bigger opponent which has more friends and a much bigger dad, but it's worth remembering the tale of a nice chap called David and a big bully going by the name of Goliath.
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