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Barksdale, Homer pitch strategy

Netscape executives position the company as an enterprise software firm that also will let businesses communicate with one another through services like the new Netcenter.

MOUNTAIN VIEW, California--Offering a glimpse into its nascent, aggressive enterprise strategy, Netscape Communications (NSCP) CEO Jim Barksdale and vice president of sales and marketing Mike Homer spoke to a gathered group of analysts and press here today.

Barksdale opened the day and instantly positioned the company as not only an enterprise software firm, but also one that will let businesses communicate with one another through services like the new Netcenter.

"Most end points of the network are in businesses, not homes," he said.

To that end, the company will give chase to the intranet and what it calls the "extranet" business. Extranets are systems that tie a business to its outside customers through electronic transactions and other means.

Barksdale and Homer set a goal of winning 500 more corporate customers or "design wins" to Netscape's portfolio to go with the 200 announced this summer, which Homer described as a "beachhead."

The two executives vowed to "protect and defend" the company's browser market share, which they put at about 70 percent in the corporate space but lower in the consumer space. The brunt of the defense lies with the company's "Netscape Everywhere" campaign, in which the company will use various tactics including an AOL-like "carpet-bombing" to push the number of clients from today's 65 million to 100 million in the next 12 months.

Barksdale acknowledged that 100 million clients deployed doesn't necessarily mean 100 million users, or even 100 million in use. "I know that some people will get more than one, and I know that not everyone who gets the product is going to say, 'Hey, this is great!'" he admitted.

New vice president of professional services Randy Favero told the group of analysts and press that his division, which is in charge of helping Netscape's business customers integrate the company's products into their IT structure, could grow to 600 people by the end of 1998. The professional services division currently employs 185 people worldwide.

But Favero downplayed the possibility of Netscape growing to the size of Arthur Andersen or other large systems integrators any time soon.

Netscape also announced it's working with Bell Canada division Emergis to create the "Bell Business Network," a Canada-only IP network for electronic document transfers and transactions. The network will use Netscape's Actra e-commerce products.