Netscape shares fall dramatically

Netscape stock lost almost 20% of its value today, plummeting to $47 on news that its stock had been downgraded by Deutsche Morgan Grenfell Inc. and Wessels Arnold & Henderson LLC. This comes on the heels of industry expectations that Netscape's fourth quarter earnings will be much lower than expected, barely exceeding previous forecasts. Adding to concern about the company is news that Chrysler Corporation recently picked Lotus software over Netscape. Also, Apple Computer yesterday announced that it would bundle Microsoft's Internet Explorer with every Macintosh it sold. Netscape Navigator is also bundled with new Macs. Windows NT 4.0, released in July, comes with free Internet Server software that competes with similar software from Netscape. "It's hard for a company to justify the fee for Netscape's software if they are getting it for free from Microsoft,'' said Richard Scocozza, an analyst at Brown Brothers Harriman. In an unrelated story, Netscape announced that it would provide free e-mail mailboxes for people using their new Messenger e-mail client, a part of the upcoming Communicator suite. This offer is available to customers of major ISPs. Netscape also announced that Sports Illustrated, USA Today, and Money magazine would participate in their "InBox Direct" news service

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