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Cabletron christens software unit "Aprisma"

Following a small naming snafu, network equipment maker Cabletron finally renames the software unit it plans to spin off in an attempt to boost its business.

Following a small naming snafu, network equipment maker Cabletron Systems has finally renamed the software unit it plans to spin off in an attempt to boost its business.

Cabletron tomorrow plans to unveil the new name for its Spectrum software business unit as Aprisma Management Technologies, according to the company.

The networking firm eventually plans to spin off Aprisma, and may offer public shares early next year, president Michael Skubicz said. Aprisma makes software that monitors and manages the operations of corporate, telephone and Internet service provider (ISP) networks.

Cabletron believes an Aprisma IPO could help turn the company's fortunes around. The networking firm, which posted a strong second quarter in September, has lost market share to rivals like Cisco Systems the past few years.

The name "Aprisma" is derived from the word "prism," and is symbolic of the company's attempts to provide network management software to all network equipment makers, Skubicz said. The new name also alludes to Aprisma's former name, Spectrum.

"We're happy and relieved. We've been through a lot of different names," Skubicz said.

The company's first attempt to christen Spectrum with a new name was foiled in September when a small software start-up grabbed the name "Netuitive" before Cabletron could legally claim it. Cabletron had been prepared to unveil the new corporate identity at the Network+Interop trade show, but was forced to scurry back to the drawing board.

The company, however, plans to keep the Spectrum name for its software products, Aprisma vice president of marketing Darren Orzechowski said. "We didn't want to lose the Spectrum brand name. It's been out there over nine years," he said. We thought Aprisma did a good job leveraging the equity the Spectrum name had in the marketplace."

To establish the new brand, Cabletron plans to spend millions of dollars to market Aprisma next year, Orzechowski said, including a sponsorship of the presidential debates in New Hampshire in early January. The company also plans to advertise in print and on television, he added.

Aprisma competes with IBM subsidiary Tivoli, Hewlett-Packard and start-ups like Micromuse, in the management software market.