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When Charity Ends

When Network Appliance bought Topio last November, Hilary Croach, director of information services at Bay Cove Human Services, wasn't in the loop. No one phoned to offer him reassurance or guarantees of ongoing service -- despite the fact that Croach had been the subject of a Topio press release in 2005. (See NetApp Grabs Topio and Outpatient Svcs Firm Replicates With Topio.)

Croach isn't quite sure what will happen now his Topio product has become NetApp's ReplicatorX. (See NetApp Re-Releases Topio.) That's because he didn't actually buy the product. His Boston-based agency is a not-for-profit group, devoted to providing services to individuals and their families who face developmental disabilities, aging, mental illness, and drug and alcohol addiction. In short, with no substantial IT budget, Croach relies on technology handouts.

This means he's at the mercy or whim of any company that takes over a donated product.

"We partly used Topio because Topio donated their product," he says. Lots of times, similar arrangements have led to technology dead ends when he can't get the same philathropic relationship going with a second or even a third product owner.

NetApp spokesman Eric Brown says the company will contact Yoram Novick, Topio's ex-CEO, who remains with NetApp, regarding the disposition of the Bay Cove gear. "I'm sure [Novick] will contact Bay Cove to work out what can be done," Brown states in an email today.

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