Last week, when Morgan Stanley Dean Witter reported June-August earnings slightly below expectations, some analysts said it might be partly because of inadequate promotion of its online brokerage unit to retail customers.

Analysts are debating whether Morgan Stanley Dean Witter Online is fulfilling its potential. Some say the cost of taking on the online giants - Charles Schwab & Co., TD Waterhouse, or E-Trade - and the risk of alienating its own brokers are substantial enough that Morgan Stanley has good reasons for not pushing the online service.

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