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Optical/IP

Maple Continues to Shed

Optical switch startup Maple Optical Systems laid off more than a third of its staff yesterday in an effort to cut costs.

“We have plenty of cash in the bank,” says Atul Kapadia, Maple's president and CEO. “But we believe this is the right way to manage our business right now. It will not impact our development, and we'll continue to stay on target with our ship date.”

The company says that 60 people out of 155 were let go. The downsizing was done primarily in administrative areas among workers who were not directly connected to revenue growth, says Kapadia.

Sources close to the company say the move was brought on by a lack of customer traction. One former employee says the company only had one carrier interested in its box: British Telecom (BT) (NYSE: BTY). The source claims talks between BT and Maple have recently shut down, and, as a result, the company decided to lay off much of its staff to conserve what little cash is left.

Kapadia denies this. While refusing to give details, he says the company is still talking to at least five potential customers. He also says he expects lab trials to begin soon, and he insists the company has plenty of cash on hand and the new layoffs are more of a precautionary measure than something done out of necessity.

Like many high-profile optical startups, Maple's record is a series of ups and downs. In August 2001, the company raised $40 million, bringing its total funding to $100 million (see Maple Nabs New Funding). Shortly after that round closed, the company laid off roughly 12 percent of its workforce and canned development of its all-optical switch (see Maple Turns Over a New Leaf). The company has since remained focused on the development of its Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) core switch, the ML3200.

But times are tough for pure MPLS switches, as they are for most next-generation technologies. Other companies developing similar gear, such as Tenor Networks Inc. and Mahi Networks Inc., have also fallen on hard times. The product landscape is muddied further by the introduction of MPLS on core routers from companies like Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and Juniper Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: JNPR).

As for the future, Kapadia admits that times are tough now, but he says that Maple will weather the storm. Could an acquisition be a good exit strategy? "Maybe," he says.

— Marguerite Reardon, Senior Editor, Light Reading
http://www.lightreading.com
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docsisdude 12/4/2012 | 10:53:23 PM
re: Maple Continues to Shed From website. Personally, I thought Phani was a good guy, but i only met him a few times.


Phanindra Jujjavarapu brings to Maple the commitment of a founder and the experience of a leading technology developer. Prior to founding Maple, Phani was Director of Systems Software at Lucent/Ascend Communications from 1995 to 1999. He was responsible for the IP and Routing protocols of the Ascend products. Prior to that position, he played a key role in defining and standardizing the OSPF routing architecture at Cisco Systems from 1989 to 1994. Phani has also been on the technical staff at Excelan, where he implemented TCP/IP, ARP, RIP protocols.

Phani obtained his BachelorGÇÖs degree in Mechanical Engineering in India and his Masters in Computer Science from Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia
speedy1 12/4/2012 | 10:53:20 PM
re: Maple Continues to Shed Phanindra Jujjavarapu brings to Maple the commitment of a founder ...

Prior to that position, he played a key role in defining and standardizing the OSPF routing architecture at Cisco Systems from 1989 to 1994.

================================================

I heard at one point that Cisco's original OSPF
software was so poorly written, it had to be
re-coded from scratch (by Derek Yeung, I thought).

Was this PJ guy the original developer whose code
they got rid of?

-speedy1
skeptic 12/4/2012 | 10:53:19 PM
re: Maple Continues to Shed Phanindra Jujjavarapu brings to Maple the commitment of a founder and the experience of a leading technology developer. Prior to founding Maple, Phani was Director of Systems Software at Lucent/Ascend Communications from 1995 to 1999. He was responsible for the IP and Routing protocols of the Ascend products. Prior to that position, he played a key role in defining and standardizing the OSPF routing architecture at Cisco Systems from 1989 to 1994. Phani has also been on the technical staff at Excelan, where he implemented TCP/IP, ARP, RIP protocols.
--------------------------------

Unfortunatly all of what you mention raises
serious red flags with regard to this person.
Being involved in OSPF at cisco during those
years is not a positive. And being responsible
for IP routing protocols at ascend (rather than
components of ascend like cascade) isn't anything
to brag about either.



new_light 12/4/2012 | 10:53:17 PM
re: Maple Continues to Shed Probably.
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