Bluesocket Offers ‘Antsy’ ReefEdge Customers Rebates

While denying any intention of using a shakeup in the Wi-Fi switch market to their advantage, Bluesocket plans to offer current customers of embattled competitor ReefEdge a rebate for jumping ship.

Bluesocket is offering ReefEdge customers a 50 percent trade-in rebate on gear that can then be applied to any Bluesocket equipment, according to Rohit Mehra, director of product marketing. The offer carries a Dec. 31 deadline.

“For existing ReefEdge customers and channel partners wishing to make the transition to Bluesocket, the company will offer channel partners and customers a trade-in credit of up to 50 percent on the value of existing ReefEdge products good towards the purchase of new Bluesocket gear,” according to a statement.

“In light of recent events surrounding layoffs and restructuring plans at Fort Lee, New Jersey-based ReefEdge Networks, Bluesocket is going to offer ReefEdge channel partners and customers a trade-in program to support them as they transition to alternate solutions for their wireless LAN deployments,” according to Bluesocket.

Mehra calls the offer “investment protection” for ReefEdge customers that may be “getting antsy” over the upheaval. Bluesocket denies it is taking advantage of a rival’s bad time. There “is no intention to go after ReefEdge,” Mehra says.

Last week ReefEdge announced a round of layoffs as the company searched for a new corporate focus. CEO David Goretski denies the company is on the verge of shutting its doors. The job cuts did not impact ReefEdge research efforts, said Goretski. However, the company may entertain being acquired.

The effort to find a new emphasis follows previous attempts to remake the company. ReefEdge began as a WLAN gateway vendor, then retooled itself as a wireless switch company and most recently views itself as a multi-site vendor.

ReefEdge began in 2000, founded by former AT&T and IBM executives. The two founders left the company, along with its vice presidents of sales and engineering.

In a somewhat-related development, wireless switch startup Aruba lost its chief financial officer, Duston M. Williams as the company prepares an initial stock offering. The departure is part of Aruba’s plan to become more Wall Street-friendly, according to a company spokesperson.

Loss of Aruba’s CFO comes on the heels of the company losing a central regional manager and investor, Walter Foss. Earlier in 2004, Aruba’s co-founder and former CEO left the company.

It’s all part of the continued consolidation and changes expect of WLAN switch vendors over the next few months. The category exploded last year with many vendors. Some, like Legra, have already gone away.

What Bluesocket is doing “is not surprising, and may even be good marketing,” says Craig Mathias of the Farpoint Group. However he added, “I don’t expect it to result in a lot of sales, since moving from one platform to another is always a challenge.”

“Change is the name of the game as WLANs continue to evolve at their usual breakneck pace,” said Mathias. “This is a dynamic industry,” he said.

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