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Marimba prepares for IPO

Once-feted push provider capitalises on new corporate application management focus

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Marimba, the once much-hyped Java push technology developer, is set to announce an initial public offering, according to sources quoted in US finance paper The Red Herring. The company is believed to be near to completing its IPO prospectus, though the size of the offering has yet to be set. Morgan Stanley and Hembrect & Quist are thought to be underwriting the stock issue. Formed in 1996 by a band of former Sun Java developers, Marimba quickly became Silicon Valley Flavour of the Month thanks to its clever Castanet push software and highly photogenic president CEO Kim Polese. Castanet differed from other push applications, such as PointCast, by delivering to users' desktops not information per se, but the Java applets that presented that data. The company was very quick to see wider uses for the technology beyond pushing news and horoscopes across the Web -- even in the early days, Polese was suggesting that Castanet could be used to deliver Java applications and updates to those applications across corporate networks, what it calls "application distribution and management". When push failed to take-off, Marimba changed its course to favour the corporate market, and has, over the last couple of years, avoided the limelight, done its damnedest to distance itself from all the early push technology hype and concentrated on building sales. Current customers include Compaq's Web subsidiary Alta Vista, Intuit, Ingram Micro, Seagate, Nortel, Bay Networks, Sun and the US DIY retail chain Home Depot. So far, Marimba has been funded to the tune of $18.5 million from venture capitalists, Wall Street investors and IT firms. ®

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