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By a bizarre twist of fate at the height of an Internet boom among domestic PC users, the company whose founder revels in the title 'father of the PC modem' looks set to shut up shop and sell off the family jewellery. The Hayes Corporation - makers of the famous Hayes modem brand - effectively ceased trading in the United States on January 5th. Nevertheless, the UK/European operation is soldiering on in the hope of finding further financial backing. Hayes has formally announced that following the refusal of its principle lender to supply any further funding, it has laid off around 250 staff in the North American and Asia Pacific regions while it seeks to go into liquidation. The company had previously entered its second spell of trading under the US Chapter 11 laws which provide a business with protection from its creditors. By total contrast, Hayes Europe is alive and kicking and continuing to trade profitably. Said Nigel Croisdale, VP for international operations at Hayes: "We are currently in active negotiations with a number of third parties to invest in Hayes Europe." Ron Howard - who effectively ousted Dennis Hayes as chairman and CEO of Hayes Corporation in October last year - confirmed that the UK based Hayes Europe was a 'free-standing company' which was looking for a potential buyer. Hayes has suffered twin problems in recent years. Founder Dennis Hayes ran the company very much as a personal fiefdom and was unwilling to take a more hands-off' approach as the business blossomed. Hayes also became reliant on Rockwell (now Concordiant) for its key components which left it vulnerable to low cost, Far Eastern manufacturers, at a time when arch rival US Robotics (now 3Com) based its main modem lines on Texas' DSPs and its own modem operating software. Meanwhile Ascend - whose key employees are mostly ex-Hayes - stole the ISP market for modem servers from the likes of Hayes and US Robotics. If Hayes does disappear it will be a sad moment for the PC modem industry which Hayes helped to establish as a major market sector. Meanwhile, rumours were circulating that Hayes Europe could resell the Psion Dacom range of products. ®

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