Vivace's Vying for Customers

Word is that Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) switch maker Vivace Networks has been in trials with WorldCom Inc. (OTC: WCOEQ) and may have a deal in the works with BellSouth Corp. (NYSE: BLS). Of course, you can't always believe what you hear, but you can repeat it.

Sources close to Vivace's competitors say the startup may have convinced a carrier to buy its gear, though none of the sources can definitely name the carrier in question. Some fingered WorldCom as the buyer, but others point out that Vivace executives were recently spotted in Atlanta meeting with BellSouth brass.

When Vivace first announced its products last year, it acknowledged having shipped its gear to at least one Tier 1 carrier (see Vivace Livens Up the Edge). Since then, speculation has run the gamut, with one industry analyst saying he's seen a Vivace product in Sprint Corp.'s (NYSE: FON) labs.

Vivace makes two multiservice edge switches that each combine the QOS (quality of service) functions of a Layer 2 switch and the packet forwarding functions of a Layer 3 router. The switches purportedly give carriers the capability to beef up their existing edge capacity while giving them a way to migrate to MPLS networks. If a Tier 1 carrier does buy Vivace's switch it could be seen as a victory for MPLS gear, which large carriers have supported vocally but not yet financially (see MPLS vs ATM? Vendors Weigh In).

If Vivace has succeeded, it raises the question of how the startup will support a large carrier customer. Unlike archrival WaveSmith Networks Inc., which has a relationship with Ciena Corp. (Nasdaq: CIEN), Vivace hasn't yet announced any sort of partnership with a larger vendor or services company (see WaveSmith Gets $30M, Signs With Ciena). Also, Vivace recently laid off an undisclosed number of workers in order to cut costs, though this could have been done at the request of a customer.

Calls to Vivace executives haven't yet been returned.

— Phil Harvey, Senior Editor, Light Reading
joe_average 12/5/2012 | 12:43:04 AM
re: Vivace's Vying for Customers Just to add more rumors to the mill:

Did you consider that they may be looking beyond the shores of North America? Perhaps some rich island state in East Asia where they make pretty good sake?
eieio 12/5/2012 | 12:43:04 AM
re: Vivace's Vying for Customers The rumor I hear is that Laurel is beating Vivace at every customer site that they both happen to be at ... folks who have seen both products claim that Laurel has a better architecture than Vivace.

No, I am not an employee or investor in Laurel.
woodhead 12/5/2012 | 12:43:03 AM
re: Vivace's Vying for Customers With today's market, MPLS is almost dead. So it's hardly believed somebody tried to pay money to buy Vivace's box which is junk-inside. No matter how many guys got laid-off, it wont save its fate.
johnnyh 12/5/2012 | 12:43:02 AM
re: Vivace's Vying for Customers The rumor is that Vivace's CEO was ousted and temporarily replaced until they can find a new one. They've contracted a headhunter to look for a new CEO and are promising huge equity if the CEO can bring in a round of funding. Apparently they are down to their last two months of cash and in desperate need of a cash infusion. If they manage to raise cash it will certainly be a wash out round, wiping out the current investors and employees' vested shares.

Given their financial status I doubt they have any major carrier customers. Executives visiting customers and lab trials are a far cry from deployed equipment. My guess is that they're trying to create some buzz to entice new investors.

Good luck!

valleyguy 12/5/2012 | 12:43:02 AM
re: Vivace's Vying for Customers Aren't they complementary? I thought Vivace was building a core MPLS switch and Laurel was a re-configurable edge router. I never saw them as competitive.
valleyguy 12/5/2012 | 12:43:00 AM
re: Vivace's Vying for Customers I heard Timetra lost a big deal at SBC and now cannot get funded. Their CEO is out bad mouthing everyone in the business and seems to have lost his mind. I heard him bashing three different companies the other day and they weren't even competitors. Very strange behavior.

Any news on Timetra? For all their stealth they better have something special to say when they come out of the (closet).
false_rumors 12/5/2012 | 12:42:57 AM
re: Vivace's Vying for Customers "Sources close to Vivace's competitors say the startup may have convinced a carrier to buy its gear..."

Who exactly are they?
sgan201 12/5/2012 | 12:42:55 AM
re: Vivace's Vying for Customers Hi,
This is not an edge box..
The lowest speed interface is DS3..
It has no physical or virtual DS1/E1 interface..
BobbyMax 12/5/2012 | 12:42:55 AM
re: Vivace's Vying for Customers It is not clear what Vivace does? It must have received a lot of money to stay in business. There are so many vendors selling multiservice edge switches, it is not clear if Vivace has a winning strategy.
lurker 12/5/2012 | 12:42:43 AM
re: Vivace's Vying for Customers Vivace's CEO is the founder Ken Koenig - he has been ousted??

I wonder how many employees they are down to - how many layoff rounds have they had?

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