Arrivederci for Avici?

There’s a lot of talk on a Light Reading discussion board that router vendor Avici Systems Inc. is on the verge of losing AT&T/SBC’s future patronage as a customer. Considering that AT&T accounted for 94 percent of Avici’s revenue last year, losing that account also is likely to translate into a slow, painful corporate death, even though Avici does have some cash to burn through before it would have to close shop.

As the telecommunications market consolidates, the same fate is being visited upon purveyors of telecommunications equipment. Avici’s market share isn’t significant enough to draw a buyer, and its technology has fallen behind that of market leaders Cisco and Juniper in recent years. There’s no reason to think a white-knight buyer will save the company.

Like many router startups funded by VCs, Avici’s was hunting the great white whale of networking, Cisco Systems. Only Juniper and Avici have been able to make any sort of dent in Cisco’s business, and now Avici looks to be heading for the industry scrap heap. Unlike countless others, however, Avici at least sold products to customer, generated revenue, and even managed an IPO. It accomplished more than most, but now the end is in sight.


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