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2004 Top Ten: On the Hot Seat

Execs at these companies won't get too comfortable during 2005

The good news for the storage companies that stumbled through 2004 is that its all but over. The bad news is there’s no magic wand they can wave to make their troubles vanish in the new year.

The good news for us is that the laggards will make for good spectator sport in 2005 as they try to get on track. And the storage hot seat isn’t reserved only for poor 2004 performers. Some companies that did well this year can feel the temperature rising due to new competitive pressures.

So, we bring you the 10 storage companies most likely to sweat their way through 2005:

No. 10: Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq: SYMC)/ Veritas Software Corp. (Nasdaq: VRTS)

Enquiring storage minds want to know how the merger of the king of backup software with the king of security software will play out (see Symantec & Veritas: It's a Deal). Even if the move benefits Veritas in the long run, its competitors are licking their chops over the chance to cash in on at least a six-month transition period (see Vulnerable Veritas).

No. 9: Emulex Corp. (NYSE: ELX)
The HBA vendor enters 2005 on a two-quarter slump that resulted in disappointing revenues and layoffs (see Why, Max? and Emulex Cuts Guidance, Jobs). There are positive signs: Financial analysts say the current quarter is shaping up well for Emulex and it’s having success with embedded switches. But with rival QLogic Corp. (Nasdaq: QLGC) on the rise on the HBA and low-end switch front, Emulex can’t afford any more slips next year.

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