Investors are to blame for Netscape?s problems, not its strategy, according to its president and CEO Jim Barksdale, who moved to reassure company shareholders at a meeting on Friday.
Sources said most shareholders left happy with the company?s direction and products but still amazed that Netscape?s shares are at their lowest level for a year - almost a third of the value they held in January 1996. Barksdale claimed that the majority of analysts predict a rosy future for the company, which is due to launch its Communicator suite in June.
"The price is like a roller coaster," he said. "I think we have a lot of momentum players in our stock." Many traders see Netscape as a short-term investment, Barksdale said, which makes the share price unstable. Sources expected Barksdale to be harangued by attendees but many shareholders agreed with the CEO, who has announced he will take a salary of $1 in 1997 to prove his commitment to the company and its strategy.
Barksdale told shareholders that the company is shifting towards more profitable services business.
Two weeks ago Netscape warned that its product lifecycle was lengthening, it has over-spent on R&D and its growth is slowing. The Communicator launch is the biggest upheaval in Netscape since it unveiled Navigator two years ago.It has a developers? conference in San Jose this week.
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