WLAN Startup Cuts Staff

Wireless LAN vendor Colubris Networks Inc. has cut around 10 percent of its workforce in a bid to keep its costs under control, Unstrung has learned.

11 of the firm's 100-strong workforce were laid off, confirms Carl Blume, director of strategic marketing for Colubris. [Editor's note: The original version of this story reported, mistakenly, that CEO Barry Fougere had been laid off as part of the cuts. He actually resigned from Colubris in mid-December 2005.]

"Colubris has reduced its workforce in order to realign operating costs with revenue," Blume told Unstrung.

Waltham, Mass-based Colubris, which started operations in 2000, began life as a public access hotspot management company but has branched into the enterprise wireless LAN space over the last couple of years. The company has partnerships with Alcatel (NYSE: ALA; Paris: CGEP:PA) and Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR) and around $36 million in venture funding. (See Colubris Cashes Up.)

But as analysts note, both of these markets are getting increasingly commoditized and much more competitive. (See VOWLAN Startups Battle Cisco.)

For instance, Colubris recently upgraded the security offered over its Intelligent MultiService controller, which is used to manage access point networks in the workplace. (See Colubris Secures WLAN.)

But it is now competing against the likes of Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) in the wireless LAN security market, says analyst Jack Gold of J.Gold Associates.

“Security is getting commoditized. When Cisco says they are a security company, you know it’s a big-boy’s game," says Gold. "They [Colubris] also do management suites, but everybody does those."

The firm was also rumored to be bidding on some major European WiFi public access deals last year. But Unstrung hasn't heard any news on the status of these deals for several months.

Colubris will make an announcement on what exactly is going on at the startup soon, according to marketing man Blume. "It will probably be this week," he says.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

lrmobile_rusty 12/5/2012 | 4:09:42 AM
re: WLAN Startup Cuts Staff Is this insinuating a buyout? It is hard for me to see what value Colubris brings in a buyout. I'd imagine there's no intellectual property to speak of and their customer base is supposedly relatively small. I've been told the product is good, but what are APs and a controller worth?
lrmobile_strungup 12/5/2012 | 4:09:41 AM
re: WLAN Startup Cuts Staff Not much value. Meru would probably be a better buy with more promising IP at a fairly cheap price.
joset01 12/5/2012 | 4:09:37 AM
re: WLAN Startup Cuts Staff I'm not insinuating anything. I don't know if there's a buyout in progress or not. Just reporting all that I do know.

Now, if you wanted to speculate, I don't think it's beyond the bounds of possibility that Alcatel might buy if they have enough of a Colubris installed base (they have been working with them for years)and they get the company for a good price.

But that is pure conjecture on my part.

lrmobile_rusty 12/5/2012 | 4:09:32 AM
re: WLAN Startup Cuts Staff When I wrote about insinuating I was referring to the Colubris rep's comments. I made the post just to see if anyone knew anything about buyout plans. I recommend Colubris from time to time for their hotspot-in-a-box functionality and I want to make sure I am not leading people astray.
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