TechCrunch leader Michael Arrington was ready to debut a tablet computing device, the CrunchPad, two weeks ago. For months, tech media speculated on its feature set, specifications and utility.
That dream is dead.
Arrington posted today that the CrunchPad is dead, stemming from a technological coup d'état in which the manufacturers of the CrunchPad allegedly dropped TechCrunch from the deal to sell the device directly through Fusion Garage, Arrington writes.
Err, what? This is the equivalent of Foxconn, who build the iPhone, notifiying Apple a couple of days before launch that they’d be moving ahead and selling the iPhone directly without any involvement from Apple.
Chandra also forwarded an internal email from one of his shareholders. My favorite part of the email: “We still acknowledge that Arrington and TechCrunch bring some value to your business endeavor…If he agrees to our terms, we would have Arrington assume the role of visionary/evangelist/marketing head and Fusion Garage would acquire the rights to use the Crunchpad brand and name. Personally, I don’t think the name is all that important but you seem to be somewhat attached to the name.”
And with that, the entire project self destructed.
Yet another legal battle for the folks at TechCrunch: according to Arrington, neither TechCrunch nor Fusion Garage own the intellectual property of the CrunchPad outright. TC and FG jointly own the CrunchPad product intellectual property, and TC solely owns the CrunchPad trademark.
"So it's legally impossible for them to simply build and sell the device without our agreement," Arrington writes.
"We will almost certainly be filing multiple lawsuits against Fusion Garage, and possibly [manufacturer CEO] Chandra [Rathakrishnan] and his shareholders as individuals, shortly. The legal system will work it all out over time."
A tough slog, the hardware business.