September 6, 2001 11:35 AM PDT

Open-source database company closes

Great Bridge, a company that had hoped open-source software would allow it to take on database giants such as Oracle, has expired after failing to find investors or a company to acquire it.

The move comes shortly after open-source rival Red Hat became a Great Bridge competitor, after Great Bridge rejected a deal to work with Red Hat.

Great Bridge, a Norfolk, Va., subsidiary of Landmark Communications, will close, and 38 of its 41 employees will be laid off, said Frank Batten, chairman of parent company Landmark and Great Bridge's founder.

In retrospect, it would have been a good idea to sell the company to Red Hat, Batten said. Red Hat this spring offered a "modest price, but it would have been better to have sold the company for something rather than nothing," Batten said.

Great Bridge is working with Red Hat and other companies to try to find jobs for its staff, he added.

Great Bridge's product was based on the PostgreSQL database, and the company employed several programmers on the core team for the software project.

The company lowered its pricing scheme after Red Hat joined the fray, and it found more customers were interested in paying for hourly consulting rather than annual support deals.

"We could not get customers to pay us big dollars for support contracts," Batten said.

The Landmark board voted to close Great Bridge, the company said. "The board was not convinced that, given the current economic climate, the company could generate revenues at a level to meet the required expenses of the business within the company's funding horizon," Batten said in a statement.


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