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Clock Ticks on Maranti

It looks like the end is near for yet another intelligent switch startup -- Maranti Networks Inc.

Industry sources say the San Jose, Calif., company is about a week away from closing its doors. One of these, who is close to the company and asked not to be named, says executives are making a last-ditch effort to find a buyer. It’s definitely down to the wire,” says the source. “This is a very important week for those guys.”

Maranti executives did not return calls for comment.

There are no obvious candidates to acquire Maranti, which has had little success selling its switches. Now that the market has narrowed even more than before, it might get squeezed out.

A turning point in the intelligent switch market has been the arrival of the Invista virtualization appliance from EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC), which works with intelligence in specific vendors' switches (see EMC Unveils Invista). Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD) and Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) have released intelligent switches to work with Invista, and McData Corp. (Nasdaq: MCDTA) says it will have one by the end of 2005. The rise of these options has made it tough for startups to stake a claim.

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