Maple Turns Over a New Leaf

Maple Optical Systems was flying high two weeks ago when it closed a $40 million round of funding, bringing the total amount of money raised close to $100 million (see Maple Nabs New Funding).

But now the company seems to be tightening its belt, letting go of roughly 12 percent of its workforce and cancelling plans for its all-optical switch.

Sources close to the company say that 22 of Maple’s 180 workers were laid off last Thursday, August 30, 2001, just before the Labor Day holiday in the U.S. Included in the layoffs were some director-level and senior engineering people from various departments, including sales, operations, marketing communications, information technology, and optical development. Light Reading has confirmed with the company that Emma Rugge-Price, director of marketing communications, and Chris Dolan, director of finance, both left the company last week.

One source speculates that Rugge-Price’s departure is linked to comments she made to Light Reading two weeks ago regarding the close of the company’s third round of funding, when she commented that the round hadn’t actually closed yet (see Maple Nabs New Funding).

There have also been rumors circulating that at least 11 ASIC engineers have recently left; whether or not they were a part of the layoffs is still uncertain. Sources also say that the startup has had trouble with its ASIC developments due to design flaws and isn’t expected to complete work on them until sometime next year. This could delay deployment of the company’s flagship MPLS core switch, the ML3200.

But Atiq Raza, founder of Raza Foundries, one of Maple’s original investors, insists that's not true.

“There are absolutely no problems with the ASICs, and in fact they are ahead of schedule,” he says. “The ASICs are doing great!”

He did confirm that the company has stopped development of its ML8000 all-optical switch.

“We decided that we can get it from other companies,” says Raza. “We are focusing our energy on the ML3200. It’s similar to a computer company saying: Are we going to build the disk drives for our system ourselves or outsource that?”

Shelving development of the ML8000 will likely not affect the company too much, since most of the intellectual property of the company is tied up in the ML3200 product, says an analyst who didn’t want to be named. But some analysts are still skeptical about the MPLS core switch/router market, since other startups like Tenor Networks Inc. have struggled to raise capital and win contracts. What’s more, core routing companies like Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and Juniper Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: JNPR) are starting to roll out MPLS in their routing products, making the need for additional boxes focused on MPLS less obvious to service providers.

“The market is a bit sketchy right now regarding pure MPLS switch/routers,” says the above-mentioned analyst. “Also, Maple has BGP peering on the box with OC192 interfaces, and that's a big undertaking.”

Maple Networks did not return phone calls by press time.

— Marguerite Reardon, Senior Editor, Light Reading
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indsavvy 12/4/2012 | 11:04:50 PM
re: Maple Turns Over a New Leaf Anyone know how things are going for Maple Optical? Do they have any money left? I just happened upon their website and hadn't seen too much about them. What are they developing? Another router? They mention every technology I've ever heard of on their site but you can't do it all? Anyone know? Are there any big names over there? Didn't seem like it from the site but it didn't look like it had been updated in a while.

docsisdude 12/4/2012 | 10:54:19 PM
re: Maple Turns Over a New Leaf Heck, they made a press release about it today(there's a link on the front page of their website, but i've also pasted it bellow). Notice how Bill Joll (former Maple CEO) is no longer listed on the management page ... guess he was part of the 60+ person downsizing. Looks like he's replaced with a Raza figurehead now.

I hope something good comes out of Maple, they were supposed to be one of the Raza flagship companies.


SAN JOSE, California - February 21, 2002 - Maple Optical Systems, today announced a restructuring of its business. The restructuring is a key step forward in allowing the company to be financially strong and ready for its first product shipments later this year.

As part of the restructuring, Maple has reduced its worldwide staff by 60 people. The company now has 90 employees globally. The streamlining predominantly affects the internal facing areas of the company and should not impact Maple's ability to deliver its product to the marketplace.

Maple is developing a next generation network-core switching platform focused at helping service providers scale their ATM networks and migrate towards an all packet-based network using MPLS.

"Cutting costs and streamlining operations are a business reality today. In these uncertain economic times, we have had to make tough decisions on how we manage our business to position us for long-term success," said Atul Kapadia, CEO of Maple Optical Systems. "Our product continues to create excitement with our potential customers and the management team remains bullish about Maple's business and long-term success. We are committed to delivering our product to customers on target, in terms of both features and schedule."

About Maple Optical Systems
Headquartered in San Jose, California, Maple Optical Systems is a venture-funded privately held company. Maple was incorporated in January of 2000 and is backed by Raza Foundries, Inc., Texas Pacific Group, Technology Crossover Ventures, Amerindo Investment Advisors, Siemens AG, Aurora Technology Fund, McQuillan Ventures, Charter Venture Capital, Leapfrog Ventures, Firsthand and others. Maple has offices in San Jose, California; Ottawa, Ontario; and Nottingham, UK. More information on Maple Optical Systems is available at www.mapleoptical.com.

older&wiser 12/4/2012 | 10:54:19 PM
re: Maple Turns Over a New Leaf I heard there were another round of layoffs at Maple. How long will these guys survive?
opticalc 12/4/2012 | 10:24:43 PM
re: Maple Turns Over a New Leaf All Jerks from Coree including the
Pee , the Con Artist along with his suckers have found a home in FirstWave ION.
Watch out Raza Foundaries !!
new_light 12/4/2012 | 10:24:39 PM
re: Maple Turns Over a New Leaf Wouid you mind translating that.
noitall 12/4/2012 | 7:52:07 PM
re: Maple Turns Over a New Leaf to the rest of the dawgs in the mpls switch space. good luck selling another box right now.
dwdm101 12/4/2012 | 7:52:04 PM
re: Maple Turns Over a New Leaf OC 192 and BGP routing... ??? Check out juniper/avici. The market is pretty saturated. Pluris, Nexabit etc al.

skeptic 12/4/2012 | 7:52:04 PM
re: Maple Turns Over a New Leaf OC 192 and BGP routing... ??? Check out juniper/avici. The market is pretty saturated. Pluris, Nexabit etc al.

The market isn't saturated. Avici only
survives and has customers because the people
buying from them don't have a good other choice.
Most people who have deal with Avici seem
to come away regretting it.

Pluris is so old as a startup that few take
them seriously anymore.

Juniper is delivering a roadmap of products
that their customers are not necessarly happy
with. Juniper is attached to the idea of
disposable routers year-after-year (the M320
isn't even announced yet and it might as well
already be obsolete) and wants to TELL customers
what they need. They don't list.

Nexabit isn't taken seriously by many people
anymore. Its out there somewhere I guess, but
its an aging architecture.

There is a market out there for this sort
of product and, at least in the case of the
larger providers, there is a great deal of
dissatisfaction with their current choices.

zalim 12/4/2012 | 7:52:03 PM
re: Maple Turns Over a New Leaf ArenGÇÖt the following 2 statements contradictory?

Company X got 40 million AND 11 ASIC guys left.

Do the ASIC guys hate money? Why should they want to join another startup, which is still looking to raise money or has raised some million dollars or want to join Juniper/Redback/Avici/??? whose stock has fallen 90% or more and chances of it bouncing back is pretty grim in near future? OR were they let go because there is no dearth of better people in the current market???

knowinfo 12/4/2012 | 7:52:03 PM
re: Maple Turns Over a New Leaf The whole management sucks, they have no idea what the hell they are doing. Ask the CTO what his vision is on the future of Maple (blank face).Then ofcourse there is the GOD of OSPF the COO who has no idea about software coding or development but has all the claims on OSPF. They are again in the process of redefining the 3200.
Can anyone at Maple please tell us what market you are in? BTW both the guys who designed the QE and the IF ASIC have long gone who is going to fix all the issues when the ASICs come in, I bet the walking around COO and CTO. Mr. Raza face the reality you screwed up. I would fire the lot.
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