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Optical/IP Networks

Headcount: Good News, Bad News

Headcount is convinced that the most brilliant mockery of workaday life is a BBC series called, The Office. As the lead character, office manager David Brent, is cutting jobs, he says: "Well, there’s good news and bad news. The bad news is that Neil will be taking over both branches, and some of you will lose your jobs... On a more positive note, the good news is, I’ve been promoted, so... every cloud... You’re still thinking about the bad news aren’t you?”

On that note, here are this week's items:

  • Photuris Inc. is set to announce this week that Charles Childers has taken the CEO post. Childers replaces Mike Pisterzi, who was formerly CEO of AccessLAN, which was sold to Advanced Fibre Communications Inc. (AFC) (Nasdaq: AFCI). The company also says it has closed the Series C financing of $40 million that it has been talking up since September (see Photuris Metro Box May Draw $40M). Stay tuned to Light Reading for the full story.

  • Just wondering... What is Steven Akers' new company working on? The former chief technology officer of Lucent's wireline business unit has started a new company called Auraria Corp. Akers gained fame as the founder and chief technology officer of SpringTide, which Lucent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: LU) acquired for $1.3 billion in 2000, cancelling its product late last year (see Lucent Silences SpringTide).

    Anyway, Akers, who is also on the board of Tazz Networks Inc., is an expert in IP switching and all things wireline, but we haven't yet got a line on this new outfit. So, if you hear some good stuff about Auraria, drop us a line.

  • Here's another outfit Headcount is curious about: Hammerhead Systems Inc. They're billing themselves as a next-generation data equipment vendor. Let's take these guys out of stealth mode early, shall we? If you know what they're up to, do tell. And, as an aside, does "next-generation" imply that our children will be the first to see it?

  • AirFiber Inc., one of the first free-space optics vendors to make a splash, shut its doors on Friday. Spokesman Jeff Mordock confirmed the closure; he was packing his office when Headcount called. AirFiber raised about $92 million in funding from big names like Nortel Networks Corp. (NYSE/Toronto: NT), Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM), Enterprise Partners Venture Capital, and General Motors. The 50 employees left at the company were informed of the shutdown on February 19th. The company's current products will be supported by some other entity, Mordock says, but he won't yet give specifics.

  • After reporting a $369 million quarterly loss, Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A) announced Friday that it is cutting an additional 4,000 jobs. The company has cut more than 10,000 jobs since it spun off from Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) in June 2000.

  • We've finally nabbed some headcount numbers from ECI Telecom Ltd. (Nasdaq/NM: ECIL), which we profiled last week (see ECI Goes Back to the Future). ECI, overall, has 3,230 total employees. The Lightscape Networks Ltd. optical networks division employs 1,153 folks. The Inovia Telecoms Ltd. broadband access division employs 578 people. There are 232 people working at InnoWave and another 330 at its subsidiary, ECtel Ltd. (Nasdaq: ECTX).

    Here's a summary of other industry appointments, disappointments, and workplace issues from the past several days: The good news: That's all we have this week. If we missed anything, send a tip to [email protected].

    — Phil Harvey and Marguerite Reardon, Senior Editors, Light Reading
    www.lightreading.com
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    bb55 12/5/2012 | 12:34:50 AM
    re: Headcount: Good News, Bad News As far I heard, both companies went through a "quiet layoff" and reduced staff on the end of the year 2002. Both companies have sufficient funds to prevail for another 6-8 months. Both companies have some shares left for the exchange for the third round. Of course the amount will be minimal, if any. And company employees will work for pay check only. Third roung is not out of the question since VC damped $200mln on them already (it is difficult to forgot about it, regardless who you are).
    nomad 12/5/2012 | 12:34:49 AM
    re: Headcount: Good News, Bad News Do you have any more information on these guys? Did the products find another home?

    As for enjoying the misery of others - My company was turned down by Enterprise partners, Spinaker Ventures and Foundation Capital ( all Airfiber investors), in one case after having to listen to a lecture about FSO killing any possibility of FTTH. So, I am enjoying their misery today.

    And keep up the good work Scott. The real news comes from the posters.

    Aloha amigos
    dljvjbsl 12/5/2012 | 12:34:46 AM
    re: Headcount: Good News, Bad News Lightreading is just reporting the truth about this industry. This is the truth that most of the products that wer ebing developed in the bubble had absolutely no customer value. There will be no recovery in the sense that many of these start ups are hoping for. The recovery will come with acquisition of products that provide either directly or indirectly value to the end user. The depth of analysis in this industry was that if 2.55Ghz was good, 10GHz was better and that 40GHz would be even bettr than that. This was the kind of thought that replaced sound engineering judgement about technology selection and caused major companies with tens of thousands of employees and decades of experience to fail.

    My favorite start up was one that saw the need for every small business to have their own wavelength. After all, doesn't every 5 person office need 10GHz access to the Internet.
    Fiberjake 12/5/2012 | 12:34:46 AM
    re: Headcount: Good News, Bad News I hear Procket has issued addtional stock options to engineers and management in the last week. Do your readers see this as a good sign or a bad sign for Prockets future ?

    Thanks
    ODH 12/5/2012 | 12:34:43 AM
    re: Headcount: Good News, Bad News
    cyber_techy wrote:
    "It's the first publication that thrives on the misery of its subcribers."

    I would say that LR serves optical networking industry well with its crucial role. People in the industry want to be, and need to be, informed of news, good or bad. Apparently, you, as I do, read LR regularly. What we want LR to do is to report happening both good and bad objectively without filtering either way. Just reporting good news is as bad as just reporting bad news. If there is misery, let people know. The worst thing could happen to LR is to only report benigh news.
    lightmaster 12/5/2012 | 12:34:42 AM
    re: Headcount: Good News, Bad News Yes, LR only reports the bad news because they love our misery. We know this is true because of all the good news they have failed to report.

    Light Reading failed to report stories about the hundreds of optical startups that have recieved billions in funding over the last week. They failed to report the latest rumor: internal aduits have revealed that Lucent, Nortel, and Ciena actually UNDERSTATED earnings by $12 billion last year. LR has failed to report on the 100,000 telecom workers that have been offered jobs in the last month. Instead, they CHOOSE to report ONLY the bad news.

    Perhaps they will write about all of this wonderful, positive news on April 1st?

    BlueFox 12/5/2012 | 12:34:42 AM
    re: Headcount: Good News, Bad News Can't speak in regard to Procket, but my experience in general with start-ups in Silicon Valley the last couple of years is that investors are trying to reduce the amount of equity in the hands of workers. In order to get additional funding I have seen reverse stock splits of 100/1. That's very motivating to the employees who have just spent the last 2 years thinking they had 100,000 options only to end up with 1,000 options.

    direct 12/5/2012 | 12:34:42 AM
    re: Headcount: Good News, Bad News Lucent will fmp most of the R&D group in Homdel this coming Thursday. They just maintaning a small team to satisfy Verizon with a prehistoric product. It is hard to believe that Verizon is buying into it. The majority of people left will be directors and managers. I guess the directors will need to do some work beside telling the people "food is here" on the weekend. It is about time that Janet Davidson wakes up and gets directly involved and fires all the parasite directors/managers that have been running the R&D group.
    optiplayer 12/5/2012 | 12:34:41 AM
    re: Headcount: Good News, Bad News They may make it another 6-8 months but they are simply postponing the inevitable. Add Celion, Photon-Ex and Xtera to the list too. The LH DWDM market is non existent for years to come. All these guys (plus CORV, CIEN, and LU) are hanging on for the supposed AT&T contract which might be worth $25-50M total over 3 years assuming AT&T decided to even pull the trigger.
    optiplayer 12/5/2012 | 12:34:41 AM
    re: Headcount: Good News, Bad News I, too, would be interested in any insight into why these guys failed. $92M is a lot of money to burn through with nothing to show for it.

    Is FSO simply too difficult to implement? Not reliable enough? Or are other issues like line of sight limitations or roof rights issues going to doom this technology.

    Nomad - I can't believe a VC told you FSO would compete against FTTH. I'm not a big believer in FTTH but FSO as a residential access technology is pretty funny...
    <<   <   Page 2 / 7   >   >>
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