A small earthquake in the Wi-Fi sector has removed a few of the weaker Wi-Fi vendors in the last few days, and seen one of the stars predict lower revenues. At least two, and possibly three vendors have closed their doors, and leading chip vendor Atheros has predicted lower revenue than expected.
Atheros - which makes chips for many of the leading Wi-Fi product vendors, now says it will make about $38 million this quarter, instead of $41 million. This from one of the leaders underlined the cut-throat Wi-Fi market.
Meanwhile, switch start-up Legra and chip maker Bermai have closed down, according to industry news site Unstrung, which also reports that not-sure-what-to-sell startup AirFlow has pretty much joined them.
Legra, the highest profile of the three, had delivered an actual wireless switch system, and made an abortive European launch in November 2003. Legra promised to be as boringly reliable as the wired network, thanks to its ability to route wireless signals at Layer 2. Now, despite a total of $20 million in venture funding, its website has disappeared, and Unstrung reports that its routing technology will be going to routing specialist NextHop.
Wireless chip maker Bermai developed - and was just starting to deliver - multimode 802.11 silicon for low-cost access points. The company was also part of TI's bid to define the next generation 802.11n fast wireless network standard. That it is, until its venture funders reportedly decided not to throw any more money after the $33 million it had already had, according to Unstrung. Too many chip vendors already out there, apparently, and the company's 55 employees have been laid off.
AirFlow is perhaps the saddest case. Starting as a switch vendor, it decided to sell software instead of systems back in April, but has apparently not made much headway even at this level - the site has no news since that announcement. Unstrung reports the death knell of the start-up: an analyst saying the company is trying to sell its intellectual property (IP), and a phone call from the chief executive that did not deny that remaining three AirFlow employees had reached the end of the trail.
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