Last January we wrote about TechCrunch's CrunchPad tablet. We were excited by the prototype and Michael Arrington's goal to build a low cost touch screen web tablet that booted right to the browser. Unfortunately, just days before the device's launch, things went pear-shaped and Arrington today announced that the project was dead, declaring, "The entire project self destructed over nothing more than greed, jealousy and miscommunication."
Arrington wrote that two weeks ago TechCrunch and its partner Fusion Garage were gearing up to launch the CrunchPad. However, on November 17, just three days before the launch date, Fusion Garage CEO Chandra Rathakrishnan emailed Arrington and said FG would be launching the CrunchPad alone, without the TechCrunch crew.
"On November 17, our deadline date for greenlighting the debut three days later, the CEO of our partner on the project, Chandra Rathakrishnan, sent me an email with the subject “no good news.” … Bizarrely, we were being notified that we were no longer involved with the project. Our project. Chandra said that based on pressure from his shareholders he had decided to move forward and sell the device directly through Fusion Garage, without our involvement.
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."
Arrington goes on to allege theft of intellectual property and says he will be filing multiple lawsuits against Fusion Garage, and possibly Chandra and his shareholders as individuals, shortly.
Chandra's side of things is likely to come out soon so we'll update once he speaks. For now, we're incredibly disappointed the project has fallen apart. You can read the full story here.