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TechCrunch Tablet Killed by 'Greed and Jealousy'

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 19 comments

Michael Arrington's CrunchPad is officially dead.

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.

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Top Comments
  • 24 Hide
    w4ffles , November 30, 2009 9:54 PM
    Finally, a lawsuit that makes sense. We haven't had one of those in a while.
  • 16 Hide
    ssalim , November 30, 2009 9:14 PM
    "...based from pressure from shareholders"

    let me fix that...

    "...need to buy another new mansion for big par-tay this weekend"
  • 14 Hide
    frozenlead , November 30, 2009 8:13 PM
    The current business climate, ladies and gentlemen.

    This is really sad.
Other Comments
    Display all 19 comments.
  • 9 Hide
    kyeana , November 30, 2009 8:04 PM
    That is simply disappointing.
  • 14 Hide
    frozenlead , November 30, 2009 8:13 PM
    The current business climate, ladies and gentlemen.

    This is really sad.
  • 7 Hide
    lejay , November 30, 2009 8:24 PM
    Seems like Chandra is due for some hate-mail.
  • 4 Hide
    gayan , November 30, 2009 8:32 PM
    chandra chandra, what have you done...
  • 13 Hide
    counselmancl , November 30, 2009 8:51 PM
    The CrunchPad got crunched!
  • 16 Hide
    ssalim , November 30, 2009 9:14 PM
    "...based from pressure from shareholders"

    let me fix that...

    "...need to buy another new mansion for big par-tay this weekend"
  • 24 Hide
    w4ffles , November 30, 2009 9:54 PM
    Finally, a lawsuit that makes sense. We haven't had one of those in a while.
  • 7 Hide
    megamanx00 , November 30, 2009 10:51 PM
    Just what the heck is Fusion Garage thinking? Since Tech Crunch owns part of the intellectual property Fusion Garage has no right to cut them out. Sounds like Fusion Garage is going to be sued out of existence, and rightly so. Too bad that the TechCrunch Tablet had to die due to this idiocy.
  • 0 Hide
    mlopinto2k1 , November 30, 2009 11:24 PM
    Man, I cant even comprehend the animosity. It is so blatant what they were attempting that it almost sounds like they were trying to be bullies???

    http://professionalmike.com
  • 0 Hide
    darkknight22 , November 30, 2009 11:27 PM
    so assuming that Arrington did not agree to the terms (which we don't know and didn't happen) then what were they planning on doing??
  • 1 Hide
    mayne92 , December 1, 2009 3:23 AM
    Wow that pad looks awesome! hope Fusion Garage falls out of the market and out of existence...
  • 1 Hide
    buwish , December 1, 2009 4:55 AM
    The tech business world is indeed cut throat. Shame.
  • 0 Hide
    tester24 , December 1, 2009 6:12 AM
    Welcome to capitalism at it's best =)
  • 0 Hide
    tanderskey , December 1, 2009 8:52 AM
    If techcrunch really owns any of the ip then they need to wait for the device to succeed and then "negotiate" a settlement or wait for one of the other partners to go public and then propose an appropriate dollar figure to not complicate a public offering.

    ... otherwise consider all work done so far a version one and start in on version two. You won't be starting from scratch and you won't make as many mistakes either.

    Persistence is the key to success.

    And the timing of a legitimate lawsuit may be more important than just suing immediately and vigorously because you can.
  • 0 Hide
    tanderskey , December 1, 2009 10:29 AM
    ... And of course you can always hire away their key talent by giving those players a nice sized equity slice of your version two. At best it might serve them right, at worst it's just business.
  • 2 Hide
    belardo , December 1, 2009 10:57 AM
    IDIOTS


    But this sort of thing happens all the time in the tech world.
  • 1 Hide
    tipoo , December 1, 2009 11:25 AM
    CHHHAAAAAAANNNNNNNDDDDDDDDDDRRRRRRRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!
  • 2 Hide
    extremepcs , December 1, 2009 2:30 PM
    Sounds a lot like the (true story) movie "Flash of Genius", where Ford stole the guys prototype for the intermittent windsheild wiper and cut him out. He reamed Ford in court, but it took several years. Pretty good flick.
  • 0 Hide
    kingssman , December 2, 2009 1:46 AM
    wow, what a loss..... well, looks like in the end this is everyone's loss because due to the court processes and delayed launch, and foul-ups that was created by being greedy. This going to make way for the apple tablet to reach the market without any competition. (like the iphone launch)