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Netscape: Intranets slow abroad

Europe and Japan are falling behind on adopting corporate intranets, Netscape cofounder Marc Andreessen says.

As U.S. corporations ramp up their efforts to launch intranets and extranets, Europe and Japan are falling behind, said Marc Andreessen, chief technology officer at Netscape (NSCP).

"Our international sales represented 26 percent of our revenues in the quarter, down from 30 percent in Q4," said Andreessen, who outlined the company's strategy speaking at a technology conference sponsored by Hambrecht & Quist. "Japan and Europe have been slower in their adoption rate than we had anticipated. It's not so much that it's declined; it's more that they haven't kicked it in."

He added that European and Japanese companies are more interested in a business-to-business approach, or extranets, than in intranets. The companies emphasize connecting with their customers, suppliers, and other companies as opposed to intranets, which connect operations from within.

A need for further deregulation of telecommunications and a lack of strong infrastructure may be some of the reasons for the slow acceleration of intranets abroad, Andreessen added. "This requires us to use a different sales approach in those countries," he said

Netscape reported a 114 percent growth in first-quarter revenues, $120.2 million more than the year-ago period. And it posted profits of $7.9 million for the quarter ending March 31, compared with $3.6 million a year ago.

Andreeseen said Netscape's Communicator Internet client and SuiteSpot 3.0 Net server suite are still on track for launch by the end of the quarter, making the period its largest for product development. The company also plans to roll out an upgrade to JavaScript in the third or fourth quarter.

"In the future, we're going to try to avoid shipping all major products in the same quarter," he said.

Several industry analysts were pleased with the presentation. One indicated that he would increase his firm's rating of Netscape.

"They're in a major product cycle, and this is a good buying point as we see how people take to the new products," said Russell Anmuth, a investment comanager for hedge fund Wisdom Tree Associates in New York.

Walter Price, a principal with RCM Capital Management in San Francisco, said Netscape's strategy is sound, provided it can maintain its product launch schedule and beat Microsoft (MSFT) to market.