Carrier WiFi

Colubris Culls

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

Long-time CEO Barry Fougere was let go just before Christmas, and 11 of the firm's 100-strong workforce were also laid off, confirms Carl Blume, director of strategic marketing for Colubris.

"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

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