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Microsoft Pri0

Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Matt Day.

April 12, 2007 at 4:09 PM

Vonage in rough waters

Vonage Chief Executive Michael Snyder has stepped down and resigned from the board of directors, the Wall Street Journal reported today.

The company, which sells Internet phone services, said it would also cut roughly 10 percent of its work force (about 180 employees) and implement a hiring freeze to help cut $30 million in expenses during the second quarter in expectation of poor first-quarter results.

Vonage founder Jeffrey Citron, now chairman and chief strategist, will serve as interim CEO while the company searches for a replacement.

I wonder if this means anything or nothing at all for Kirkland-based Clearwire, which many analysts have compared to Vonage?

To be sure, there are a few parallels. Clearwire is a startup Internet service that also recently went public. Both companies have to create awareness about a whole new service and technology and new brand. Both sell to consumers.

Clearwire went public last month, raising $600 million in its initial public offering. Since then, its stock price has failed to remain at or above its offering price of $25 a share. Today, the stock closed at $19.49. It will have to report its first quarterly earnings report soon.

Of course, one stark difference is that Clearwire is not plagued with the problems facing Vonage. Vonage is involved in a bitter legal battle involving a patent dispute with Verizon Communications, which actually might threaten its survival. A judge ordered Vonage to stop marketing its service to new customers.

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