HP executive leaves for network startup

Dave Zabrowski, formerly a top executive in Hewlett-Packard Co.'s PC operations, has left the company to head S2io Technologies, a startup specializing in 10G bps (bit-per-second) Ethernet products for enterprise networks.

Zabrowski will be chief executive officer of S2io, which plans to introduce early next year network interface cards (NICs) that use the 10-Gigabit Ethernet standard. The Cupertino, California-based company aims to bring the Ethernet interconnects between data centers and enterprise LANs and WANs (wide-area networks) up to speed with high-speed I/O technologies now emerging inside data centers, Zabrowski said. S2io is expected to announce his hiring on Monday.

The process of merging Palo Alto, California-based HP with Houston-based Compaq Computer Corp., which it acquired in May, helped provide an impetus to leave, Zabrowski said, although the 16-year HP veteran said he had been seeking a more entrepreneurial opportunity before the acquisition. Zabrowski was vice president and general manager of HP's Personal Computing Organization, based in Roseville, California, with responsibility for commercial desktops, notebooks and handheld computers, as well as servers based on Intel Corp. chips and Windows, for North America, he said.

"With the merger with Compaq, there were decisions made as to which products and which businesses were going to be Compaq-led and which would be HP-led, and market positions tended to dominate those decisions ... (in Zabrowski's unit) most of those posts went to Houston," he said. Zabrowski added that he agreed with those decisions.

"For me, the timing was quite convenient," he said. Zabrowski left HP earlier this month.

S2io has developed its own ASIC (application-specific integrated circuit) for 10G bps Ethernet and intends to sell NICs built around that ASIC under its own name. The company also is considering other arrangements involving the use of its technology, Zabrowski said. It was founded in September 2001 and currently has about 40 employees.

Intel earlier this year demonstrated a 10G bps Ethernet NIC and said it expected to ship the product in volume to server makers in the third quarter of the year. The chip and motherboard giant's aggressive move into the new technology, which included massive investments and acquisitions to develop optical networking components, doesn't scare Zabrowski.

"If the customers say we have superior technology, we will be in a leading position," Zabrowski said.

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