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Copan moves to indirect sales channel

The MAID lays many people off

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Comment Copan Systems is moving to an indirect sales model, sparking closure rumours as many people were laid off.

Several people contacted The Reg on Tuesday saying that Copan was closing down. David Dew, Copan's VP for engineering and quality and thus in charge of the company's MAID (Massive Array of Idle Disks) technology product development, emailed us on Thursday saying: "Copan has not shut down."

One of our contacts, based in Longmont, responded to that on Thursday, saying: "Well...if you only have eight people from about 60 (seven as far as I know, Dew might stay there for a few more days ... on [a] consulting base), as a hardware company, not a single one is left in manufacture and and test; if they want to say it is not shut-down, then they have to invent something. The seven people remaining are told it won't be long until they are let go. Actually they just let one tech support go today, so it is six now."

Maybe we can call it "severe downsizing" for a few more weeks. Also keep in mind that David Dew was the one who told people last quarter: "We received more than 40 orders this quarter and Copan has passed the worst point."

We contacted Jim Flyzik, president of the Flyzik group, a strategic consultancy, who became a special advisor to Copan in March. Asked about Copan closing down, he said: "No, I don't believe that they have. I think they have some type of relationship with IBM [and] I think they are changing their marketing approach."

Today David Dew said: "While it is not a big secret that we have put a number of employees on furlough as a cost-cutting measure, we have not shut down as some reports have stated.

"We still have adequate service and engineering resources and are fully supporting our customer base. We are in process of going to go an indirect sales and a major sales strategy transition comes with some ups and downs.

"While obviously this week’s action certainly could be seen as a negative development, the intention is to bridge the sales transition while the new channel ramps."

One of our contacts said: "This was such a promising company a few years back and everyone was motivated to work hard and make something happen. But it was completely ruined in the last two years when Mark Ward brought in his team of 'Know nothing, don't bother to know anything, don't care about anything' executives and managers from Sun.

"They believe as long as they pile up enough bodies, no matter who they are, they can get things done. We figured that was how Sun was destroyed. [It's] very sad and depressing, 50+ people lost [their] jobs after $110 millions flushed."

Dew did not answer questions about what was happening to the two remaining founders: chief technology officer Chris Santilli and federal systems president Will Layton.

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