Native Secures Its Survival
The deal is almost certainly with Alcatel SA (NYSE: ALA; Paris: CGEP:PA) -- although neither Harbour nor Alcatel would confirm this. "We never comment on rumors and speculation," says an Alcatel spokesman.
Native Networks makes equipment that enables carriers to offer what looks like Ethernet-based services to corporate customers over their existing Sonet (Synchronous Optical NETwork) and SDH (Synchronous Digital Hierarchy) infrastructures. In other words, it'll enable Alcatel to offer "Next-Gen Sonet" technologies that promise to make circuit-centric carrier networks more data friendly (see Next-Gen Sonet and Next-Gen Sonet Silicon).
The supposed deal with Alcatel demonstrates a shift in strategy by Native. It's given up trying to sell directly to service providers and is instead focusing on reaching big carriers through OEM deals and smaller carriers through resellers (see, for example, Native Gets UK Reseller).
"This sort of deal represents the future for all startups," comments Bert Whyte, director, president, and CEO at Network Equipment Technologies Inc. (net.com) (NYSE: NWK), a service creation vendor. "Service providers won't go nutty again [and buy directly from startups]. Those days are gone forever. The only path to the big accounts for the startups is now through the incumbent equipment vendors' sales channels."
This also appears to be behind Harbour's departure two weeks ago, which was "amicable," according to Harbour himself, as well as Steve McCaffery, Native's VP of sales. However, the departure sounds rather hasty for that to be true. Harbour left before a replacement had been found. The company has launched a search and is currently being run by a committee of McCaffery in the U.K. and Gilad Goren and Eraz Aviv in Israel. Goren is a founder and president. Aviv is a newcomer with production experience, filling the COO role.
"I've done my bit. I've accelerated the business -- and now I'm available for work from September," Harbour told Light Reading today. "Right now, I'm trying to persuade my wife to go with me on a Harley Davidson from Chicago to Los Angeles."
— Peter Heywood, Founding Editor, Light Reading
http://www.lightreading.com Want to know more? The big cheeses of the optical networking industry will be discussing this very topic at Opticon 2002, Light Reading’s annual conference, being held in San Jose, California, August 19-22. Check it out at Opticon 2002.