Trapeze's Wireless Wobbles

Sources say that 30% of the staff have been culled; marketing VP Prodan retires UPDATED 6PM

October 27, 2003

2 Min Read
Trapeze's Wireless Wobbles

Wireless LAN switch startup Trapeze Networks Inc. has confirmed that it cut around 30 percent of its workforce last week.

In addition, Trapeze announced that George Prodan has stepped down (actually, the announcement says he has "retired") as VP of worldwide sales and that Al Sadler, currently vice president of operations, will become company COO. Prodan's capacious marketing shoes will be filled by Mike Banic, currently director of product marketing (see Trapeze Appoints COO, VP).

As well as these management moves, there has been a second round of layoffs at the company (see Trapeze's Rebalancing Act for more on the first). Last week up to 40 of 110 or so people that Trapeze employed found themselves without a safety net.

Banic insists the cuts will not affect the firm's ability to deliver product. "We're still completely staffed up to deliver on our... roadmap," he says.

He says Trapeze will soon deliver a software update that allows its Mobility Point access points to remotely "talk" to a centralized Mobility Exchange switch without actually being connected to one -- this, along with hardware support in the access points for the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) security protocol.

Trapeze has -- up until now -- taken a different approach to cracking the wireless LAN market than rivals such as Airespace Inc. and Aruba Wireless Networks. The firm has (or had) around double the staff employed by its startup competitors and was burning through the $50 million in funding it has so far raised, according to wagging tongues in the industry (see Trapeze Swings $34M).

The departing Prodan was a major proponent of this high-spending strategy. He told Unstrung on several occasions that Trapeze had to take this approach because the dominant players in the wireless LAN switch market would be decided within a 12-month window (see Trapeze's High Wireless Act).

Prodan will remain as a strategic advisor to the company.

"My intial decision to help out Trapeze was based on an understanding that I would not be a long term player for them," he tells Unstrung in an email reply to questions. "My goals and objectives were to help them get launched and to bring on a team that could carry forward long term. I will still coach and consult to Trapeze and as well I have a significant investment in the company."

— Dan Jones, Senior Editor, Unstrung

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