Shares in Octel Communications plunged more than 35 percent in trading today after the voice mail company said it would delay the release of an upgraded product by up to six months.
The news was a particular disappointment to investors as Octel has been one of the Silicon Valley's most steady performers. Octel also is a popular telecommmunications stock in many mutual fund portfolios.
The company's shares fell 8-3/4 to 15-3/4 in midday trading. Octel has traded as high as 31-3/4 and as low as 12-5/8 in the last year.
After the news, analysts who follow the company cut their earnings estimates. The consensus of forecasts for the fiscal year that ended June 1997 fell to $1.10 a share from $1.25.
Octel said the delay of the product, called Sierra, was caused by a software bug. The product likely will ship in the company's third fiscal quarter but may not until its fourth, Greg Klaben, the company's head of investor relations, told CNET today.
Klaben said the product was supposed to ship in fiscal quarter ending in December.