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Netscape in full-court press
December 19, 1997: 8:12 p.m. ET

Barksdale confident that 'attractive offers' will sustain market share
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NEW YORK (CNNfn) - Since going public in August of 1995, browser giant Netscape Communications Corp. has been one of the darlings of Wall Street.
     Since its founding, Netscape has grown to be the nation's 12th-largest software company and the fastest-growing software company in the nation's history.
     However, the company's dominant market share has come under attack ever since Microsoft Corp. released Internet Explorer 3.0, the first serious competitor to Netscape's Navigator browser.
     Antitrust regulators and Microsoft have been battling it out in a federal court in the past few weeks over Microsoft's plans to bundle the Web browser with its operating system.
     While that has some people worried about Netscape's future, Jim Barksdale, the company's chairman, is certainly not one of them.
     Appearing Friday on "Moneyline With Lou Dobbs," Barksdale said Netscape is already working with PC makers to discuss more options for getting its products out.
     "The order just came down last week, but we're already working with them and I think more discussions will come from that," he said referring to a U.S. court ruling the temporarily blocks Microsoft from forcing PC makers to bundle its Internet browser with the Windows 95 operating system.
     "Many such as IBM distribute our products with PCs and I think we're making attractive offers to [PC makers]," he added. "We'll see how it works out."
     "We certainly think we can make attractive offers to them, but we're not going to talk about our strategies for things that might happen in the future. That would be inappropriate," he said.
     Despite a strong push by Microsoft to grab more of the browser market, Barksdale said Netscape still has an extremely loyal following.
     "Two of three people on the Internet today prefer our product. As a company that's three years old, we're proud of that. We've just started a program to distribute 120 million copies of our product, so there are ways we can hold on to market share. Most companies would be proud of a 67 percent market share," Barksdale said.
     Barksdale said Netscape objects to Microsoft's bundling plan because it stands to set a bad precedent that would give companies too much leeway to tie one product to another.
     He said computer users want choice of browsers just as they do with the television networks they receive. (155K WAV) or (155K AIFF)
     Barksdale said the browser is becoming much less important to the company's revenue picture as more than 80 percent of revenues currently come from client/server products.Back to top


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