Q&A (3): Q'deck CEO on changes and challenges

Continues from Part One and Part Two.

One of the challenges when you took over at Quarterdeck you faced was a huge product line-up...

When I joined the company we had 275 SKUs; that's down to about 48 in about six months. We've gone from a huge product line down to a pretty crisp view of where we'd like to go, and we've picked a growth market.

People here were thinking of products and saying: 'Let's just do another version, it still sells to some people', and forgetting about the cost of managing and marketing so many brands. The other day I got a memo from technical support announcing they were discontinuing support for ZooWorks. I replied with an irate message saying that as a loyal ZooWorks user I was furious with them... and, by the way, what's ZooWorks? Nobody knew!

Quarterdeck had also made a bet that Internet utilities were the way forward.

There was a huge bet that Internet utilities would be the wave of the future. A lot of companies did that and Quarterdeck probably made the biggest bet. Internet utilities is not an area that makes money at retail or really anywhere. Didn't work for us, didn't work for Symantec, didn't work for a lot of companies.

After a tough time Quarterdeck has now made three straight quarters of profit. How do you see the realistic potential of the company?

Well, we've already said that fiscal '97, which ends at the end of September, was going to be reducing expenses rather than top-level growth. We will end up with about 350 staff. We've got revenues of about $100m and we want to grow faster than the market. If we do that we'll be alright.

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