GridNetworks Close to Sale, Move Networks Looks for New CEO

So maybe challenging Akamai ain’t so easy! Move Networks and GridNetworks, both companies that power high-quality video streaming via plug-ins, are getting kicked around a bit.

We can confirm Dan Rayburn’s report last night that GridNetworks is close to being sold, but from what we now know about the deal it’s more of a merger that won’t see a significant return on the $9.5 million it raised from Cisco, Comcast and Panorama Capital. The company’s recent news includes partnering with a DRM provider and getting onto the Sony PS3.

We also got a chance to talk to Move Networks’ board member and investor Dan Beldy, managing director at Steamboat Ventures, today to get an official take on an anonymously sourced story in Contentinople that the company is going through a big shakeup.

Beldy confirmed that Move is seeking a new CEO, had reduced headcount and pared down its projects. “In a market where there’s a lot of disruption and transition, you can try and do too much,” he said. “This is not a sprint. The economy has changed, but we have a great product, great solution and great customers.”

Move got into the market early with an impressive TV streaming offering and signed some impressive customers — ABC, Fox, ESPN — but now it’s feeling the crunch of increasing competition from “huge established players” with ample resources. For instance, its partner and distributor Microsoft last week announced a partnership with Akamai to offer similar adaptive streaming technology as that offered by Move.

Move has raised $68 million from Benchmark Capital, Cisco, Comcast Interactive Media, Televisa, Steamboat Ventures and Hummer Winblad Venture Partners. The company had ballooned along with its funding last year to some 180 employees, according to Contentinople (Beldy declined to give a specific number).

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