Local firm blames 25% job cut on Microsoft action

avistar-logo.gif Avistar Communications will cut its U.S. and European workforces by 25 percent, blaming the move largely on Microsoft’s legal challenge of patents held by the San Mateo videoconferencing company, according to a press release it issued Wednesday. It had 88 employees as of the end of 2006, the most recent figure available.

Microsoft moved to challenge all of Avistar’s 29 U.S. patents through the U.S. Patent
Office’s re-examination process after “in-depth licensing discussions” failed to produce a result the software giant was satisfied with, according to Avistar’s release.

“This single action against Avistar’s complete US patent portfolio represents over 5% of the entire 2007 third-party re-examination challenges at the USPTO,” stated Simon Moss, Avistar’s CEO, in the release. “”This leads to only one logical conclusion … Microsoft must be taking our patent portfolio very seriously in regard to it’s relevance to their present or future products. Why else would it take such a dramatic action?”

Avistar, which was notified in November that its stock was subject to de-listing by the
Nasdaq market because its market value fell below $25 million, said March 20 it regained that compliance. Avistar shares have more than doubled so far this year. They fell three cents Wednesday to close at 88 cents.


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