Arrington: CrunchPad self-destructed over 'greed, jealousy and miscommunication'

Arrington: CrunchPad self-destructed over 'greed, jealousy and miscommunication'

Summary: TechCrunch leader Michael Arrington was set to debut a tablet computing device, the CrunchPad, two weeks ago. That dream is dead.

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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.

Topics: Enterprise Software, Collaboration, Hardware, Laptops, Legal, Mobility, Tablets

Andrew Nusca

About Andrew Nusca

Andrew Nusca is a former writer-editor for ZDNet and contributor to CNET. During his tenure, he was the editor of SmartPlanet, ZDNet's sister site about innovation.

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8 comments
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  • Does not make sense...

    This seems really dumb. Why try to start a company when you KNOW most of the people who review things like this will blackball it? I started talking about the coming tablet war back in Aug (http://www.peri...s/?s=tablet+war) and believe me, if they do not have a REALLY good reason for this, they will find themselves hounded by people who write about tablets. Just does not make sense.. I will be really interested to hear the other side of the coin, but still.. How do you start a new product when you are going to be sued every 5 days?
    perivision@...
    • Even if they DO have a good reason - it's wrong

      Even if Fusion Garage has a good business reason to try to eject Arrington from a project he conceived and developed, that doesn't make it right. He worked on this device and had several prototypes before Fusion Garage even existed. Taking his intellectual property and excluding him from the benefits of its fruition places them in the category of "evil and greedy" for most of us who have followed this project from the beginning. For those reasons alone, I will never purchase ANYTHING created or sold by Fusion Garage. I hope they all rot in a stack of unsold units.
      BillDem
  • Seems like a smoke screen

    ...to cover up vaporware.

    That said, I have seen people similarly unrealistic in
    their expectations, but this should have been worked out
    long ago.

    The "days before launch" aspect of it smells funny to me.
    caspianhiro
    • Yeah, smoke screen

      I agree. The project started before "Netbooks" really caught on. Now that you can buy a new Netbook with 3G wireless coverage for under $200, they probably figured that their market would be niche and minimal.
      Bit-Smacker
  • To bad.

    I planned to buy a couple. Guess I'll have to wait for an iTablet.
    MikeFM
  • Biz as usual for some

    I don't consider myself prejudiced because I hate everyone equally. Except, of course, those who go out of their way to be slime. This type of activity seem very much in sync with a certain caste of folks from that country. On the other hand a similar maneuver was run against me in 97 trying to get design for a mobile instant web publishing system I put together. That attempt was launched from the primary server of Vulcan Venture. I hope you smear the bahstahds in court. You should be able to get an order forbidding them to sell while you run it through the legal mills. Best of luck to ya Michael.
    LostValley
  • RE: Arrington: CrunchPad self-destructed over 'greed, jealousy and miscommunication'

    Shame, it looks quite nice!
    wez@...
  • It gave them an out

    I also think it was a smokescreen to give everyone an out of what I believe would have been a moneylosing idea.
    The field of computers past is littered by corpses of hardware ideas that were great and failed - Psion 5mx is one good one and others will follow so its all good.
    The great unwashed are willing to cling onto anything that will save them from their Windows oppression but when things are offered to them like Linux, they balk at the lack of Windowsness and are unwilling to invest the time to learn how to use Linux and merely wish to click like mindless drones.
    Mattster67