Worldtalk Communications Corp, a Santa Clara, California provider of directory-based messaging solutions was offered a vote of confidence on Friday when a research analyst at Robertson, Stephens and Co raised his rating on Worldtalk from a long term attractive to a buy. This move was based on the fact that Worldtalk will next week ship its new NetTalk product for Windows NT, which is being billed as a complete messaging management solution for corporate intranets. The product, which manages electronic messages and file attachments, could be seen as an alternative to MS Exchange or Netscape Suite-Spot. However, Worldtalk doesn’t seem to fear competition. It sees its product as unique in its scope and as complementary to Microsoft, Netscape and Novell products, with which it enjoys interconnectivity. Microsoft, be it a genuine belief in NetTalk’s value or a hedge, helped fund research that led to this product with it standing to collect royalties, up to a fixed number of units, on any future Worldtalk sales. NetTalk’s strengths, according to its makers, are its ability to tie together disparate e-mail systems, its compatibility with other products, and a relatively low price. It can be purchased on its own or bundled with the company’s encryption product Secure Messenger, presumably a direct result of Worldtalk’s acquisition of Deming Software, developers of e-mail security, last November. This led to a one-time charge of $4.5m, which was exactly the company’s net loss for the fourth quarter of 1996. The net loss for the year ended December 31 was $5.2m, on revenue of $14.2m. NetTalk will be marketed through resellers and is priced at about $20.