Software house Ontos has withdrawn from the European marketplace because it has no product to sell.
It moved its Unix-based middleware product into maintenance last September and does not expect the new NT version to appear until May.
Jay Lyons, Ontos? chief operating officer, said: ?The focus of the company will be on a new platform and new markets, and we want to gain mind share and market share before we enter Europe again. Our approach in future will be via third party distributors, but not until the start of 1999 because we want to gain credibility first.?
He admitted: "Our sales organisations in the UK and Germany were waiting patiently for over a year to supply product, but we?ve now closed them, although they still exist as legal entities.?
The organisation started life 10 years ago as an object database supplier, but metamorphosised into a middleware vendor about three years ago.
Its Unix product, for Sun's Solaris operating system, enabled object-oriented applications to access data stored in relational databases. The new NT version has been rewritten from the ground up, following Ontos? decision last summer to axe its development team of up to 60 staff.
It has since hired about 20 new developers to undertake the new project, but has been surviving on venture capital funding from New York-based Wolfensohn Partners ever since.
Lyons added that the Lowell, Massachussetts-based firm would focus on selling its new product into the financial services market in the New York, Boston and Chicago areas where it is centred, rather than taking a scattergun approach and selling horizontally all over the US.
Ontos currently has 30 personnel employed exclusively in the US, after axing its three UK-based and two German staff, but has just hired Stephen Ford as vice president of sales to replace Michael Torto, who left to go to Interleaf last May.
Lyons acknowledged that Wolfensohn and Partners, which have backed Ontos for 10 years, had been ?very patient? with the company, but declined to comment on how or when it would see a return for its money.
Peter Chaplin, former managing director of Ontos UK, said: ?I have left Ontos to set up a new company. Ontos is developing a new range of products that weren?t going to be available until later in the year, so it didn?t seem sensible to wait until then. We?re setting up a new company, Stepsoft, to focus on data migration between relational databases and complex data models, but we may distribute Ontos product in the future.?
He added that he had left Ontos on good terms and looked forward to working with the company in future.
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