Netscape surprised the stock markets last week by breaking even in its last quarter - though only through the use of an unusual accounting method.
The company reported revenues of $127.2 million (#78 million) for the three months ending 30 April, with a net income of $8,000 (#4,908). Industry analysts had expected a loss. This is compared to revenues of $125.3 million (#76.9 million) and a loss of $88.3 million (#54.2 million) for the period ending December 31 1997.
However, Netscape used some clever accounting to ensure its profit. The results are skewed by the fact that Netscape moved its fiscal year to start on 1 November, meaning that January this year was counted as a quarter on its own.
In January, Netscape reported a loss of $54.2 million (#33.3 million), including a restructuring charge of $12 million (#7.4 million).
Netscape attributed its results to industry acceptance of its enterprise solutions strategy and the success of its NetCenter portal site.
"Our decisions to broaden our enterprise solutions business through acquisitions and to invest in our Internet portal site are now bearing fruit, with both parts of the business showing steady growth," said Netscape CEO Jim Barksdale in a prepared statement.
Revenue from the enterprise software and services division showed a slight increase from the previous full quarter, up to $96.1 million (#59 million), whereas NetCenter's revenue jumped from $21.3 million (#13 million) to $31.1 million (#19 million).
Richard Buckley, strategic planning director at research firm IDG, compared Netscape to Apple. "It's turning itself around, but it does not have a rosy future," he said. "The problem is confidence in the marketplace: because of the US anti-trust case against Microsoft, people are holding back on deciding between the two companies. The best product doesn't always end up as market leader, and Netscape has to invest in marketing to reassure the marketplace."
"I expect Netscape to be acquired within two years," declared James Eibisch, principal analyst at Input. "It would be good news for customers and give Netscape credibility in the enterprise market, because enterprise users are wary of small companies and need support."
Cotton seedling freezes to death as Chang'e-4 shuts down for the Moon's 14-day lunar night
Fortnite easily out-earns PUBG, Assassin's Creed Odyssey and Red Dead Redemption 2 in 2018
Meteor showers as a service will be visible for about 100 kilometres in all directions
Saturn's rings only formed in the past 100 million years, suggests analysis of Cassini space probe data
New findings contradict conventional belief that Saturn's rings were formed along with the planet about 4.5 billion years ago