Visix to shut its doors

Stewart Deck

Visix Software, Inc.'s CEO said the company's board of directors has decided to dissolve the company. Under incorporation law, the Reston, Va.-based company will exist only in the hands of a trustee as of late April.

"It didn't make sense to run the company until it was forced into a bankruptcy situation. It was in everyone's best interest to do an orderly wind-down so that customers could be handled properly and the employees could be given some type of severance," said Visix CEO Barry Libenson, in an interview last night.

But some users of Visix's Galaxy cross-platform development tools questioned whether the move was handled properly. Only a small portion of Galaxy users were notified by the company about its future. According to Libenson, Bellcore, Inc. and JP Morgan Securities, Inc. were officially notified about the company's fate earlier this month. He said other customers that have called Visix have also been told.

Meanwhile, worrisome questions and rumors concerning the company's health have been circulating on Internet newsgroups since the beginning of this month. Libenson said that out of about 60 employees, only 13 were still on the job after Feb. 27. Libenson's last day is March 31. A support group for Galaxy users has formed with 156 users to replace the former Galaxy Users Group that Visix helped organize.

Libenson said changing market dynamics doomed the company. "Our strongest suit was cross-platform development tools, and the demand for that technology was not growing or showing any signs of growth. If anything, it was in decline."

Libenson also said the company's decision to focus its energies on developing client-side Java applications -- specifically with its Vibe product -- didn't pay off either. "The use of Java is more prolific on the server side, and Sun [Microsystems, Inc.] hasn't been able to deliver what they've promised on the client side. That made a non-market for us, and we had invested significant time and money into our Java-based product."

Mitch Kramer, an analyst at Patricia Seybold Group in Boston, said Visix's demise isn't too surprising. "Their technology seemed appealing, but there wasn't solid marketing and product management behind it," Kramer said. "It was another neat product that fell into a large space. ... When you're a small company, you need focus in order to succeed."

Visix will make source code available for sale to customers who need to continue to support existing Galaxy development platforms. "We're attempting to be as responsive as we can under the circumstances," Libenson said. "We only have a small team left here, but we're trying to answer any questions as quickly as possible." Libenson added that Visix will officially notify its customers about the company dissolution as required by incorporation law.

"This is not the way I had anticipated things coming to a close," Libenson added. "I had hoped for much bigger and better things."

(Computer Industry news, 03/25/98 12:25:18 PM)

Article copied from Computerworld

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