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Compellent, XIOtech Swap Suits

Two competing SAN startups are seeking their day in court, in a case that demonstrates the risks involved in so-called serial entrepreneurship.

Compellent Technologies Inc. and XIOtech Corp. have swapped motions in what looks to be the start of a typical technoworld legal tangle (see Compellent, XIOtech Go to Law).

It began several weeks back, when Compellent allegedly sent a complaint to XIOtech about "wrongful acts of business interference and unfair competition." Just what that means is tough to pin down. XIOtech's not telling, and Compellent had not answered questions at press time.

But the legal definition of business interference includes behavior such as hiring another company's employees with intent to obtain trade secrets from them, or threatening would-be customers.

The two companies seem to have fertile ground for potential trouble. XIOtech, now a late-stage startup, was founded in 1999 by Phil Soran, John Guider, and Larry Aszmann -- who subsequently left the company and went on to found Compellent in 2002 (see XIOtech Founders Back in Business). Soran is now CEO, Guider COO, and Aszmann CTO of Compellent.

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