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Quarterdeck drops after warning

Shares fall more than 17 percent after the company warns that it will post significantly lower revenues than it did in the previous quarter.

Shares of Quarterdeck (QDEK), a struggling maker of self-help and diagnostic tools for personal computers, fell more than 17 percent today after the company warned that it would post significantly lower revenues than it did in the previous quarter.

Quarterdeck's stock closed at 1-3/4, down 3/8 from the day before.

The Marina Del Rey, California, company said net revenues for the quarter ending today would be 20 percent to 25 percent less than the $20.6 million in revenues posted for the quarter that ended December 3.

The company has been trying to find a new niche ever since features in Microsoft's Windows 95 made some of Quarterdeck's core products obsolete. Now occupying the PC self-help market, Quarterdeck faces intense competition from Symantec (SYMC), Network Associates (NETA), and Cybermedia (CYBR).

A Quarterdeck spokeswoman cited a number of factors as contributing to the lower revenues, including costs associated with transferring the company's telemarketing to an outside company, lower-than-expected sales of the company's ViruSweep and REALHELP products, and difficulty getting existing products into foreign markets.

In a press release, the company said it expected to post an operating loss of "several million dollars" this quarter. It added that "it expects substantial revenue contributions from these new product going forward."

No analysts regularly cover Quarterdeck, but First Call projected that the company will earn 16 cents a share for 1998. Last quarter the company posted a profit of 1 cent per share.

Joseph Fusco, Quarterdeck's senior vice president of sales and marketing, said that the company's sales volume remained strong, but that intense competition from other utilities vendors in the form of rebates "has made revenues per unit lower than in the past."