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Michael Robertson Sued Over Missing Linspire Cash

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 5 years ago | from the transparency-whether-you-like-it-or-not dept.

The Courts 65

An anonymous reader writes "Blogger and ex-Linspire CEO Kevin Carmony reports that Michael Robertson has been sued by a Linspire shareholder to get to the bottom of what happened to Linspire's assets. One hundred shareholders have been left uninformed as to what happened to the company and its assets after Linspire was sold to Xandros a few months back."

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fp (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25250809)

better get used to the feeling of my massive first post lodged up your faggot ass, you homos!

teach me to enjoy the feeling. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25252697)

'cause hetero's like me want to know, lonely girl, lonely girl...

Isn't it obvious? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25250821)

He freed the money as part of his Open Vault Software initiative.

What assets? (3, Funny)

Onaga (1369777) | more than 5 years ago | (#25250837)

Linux isn't profitable...

Re:What assets? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25252395)

Here is a serious side of that question, since I am seriously curious: What did Linspire earn money from? How do they make $20 million in profit when anybody can download their competition, Ubuntu and CentOS and etc, for free? What was their business model and who was paying them money?

Re:What assets? (4, Informative)

wastedlife (1319259) | more than 5 years ago | (#25252565)

OEMs. A lot of the cheap-ass linux desktops at Fry's and Walmart used to be sold running Lindows/Linspire (I think gOS and Xandros have stolen that market). Also, I believe they were looking to sell their "Click N Run" package manager for use in Ubuntu and possibly other distros.

Listening to a used car salesman like Carmony? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25252551)

>Linux isn't profitable...

Yeah, because according to Carmony were all pirating someones IP right?

Kevin Carmony, Darl McBride.
Separated at birth.

BUSINESS - JESUS = CORRUPTION AND THEFT (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25250839)

This is what it would be like, if the majority of people were athiests.
ATHIEST KID: Mom, I'm going to go fuck a hooker.
ATHIEST MOM: Okay, son.
ATHIEST KID: Afterwards, I'm going to go smoke pot with my friends, since it's "not addictive."
ATHIEST MOM: Okay, come home soon!

The athiest kid leaves the room. The father comes home from work several minutes later.

ATHIEST DAD: Hey!
ATHIEST MOM: Hi, honey! I'm pregnant again. I guess I'll just get another abortion, since "fetuses don't count as human life."
ATHIEST DAD: Okay, get as many abortions as you want!
ATHIEST MOM: Oh, and don't go in the bedroom.
ATHIEST DAD: Why not?
ATHIEST MOM: There are two gay men fucking eachother in there.
ATHIEST DAD: Why are they here?
ATHIEST MOM: I wanted to watch them do it for awhile. They just aren't finished yet.
ATHIEST DAD: Okay, that's fine with me!

Suddenly, their neighbor runs into the house.

ATHIEST NEIGHBOR: Come quick, there's a Christian outside!
ATHIEST MOM: We'll be right there!

The athiest couple quickly put on a pair of black robes and hoods. They then exit the house, and run into the street, where a Christian is nailed to a large, wooden X. He is being burned alive. A crowd of athiests stand around him, all wearing black robes and hoods.

RANDOM ATHIEST: Damn you, Christian! We hate you! We claim to be tolerant of all religions. But we really hate yours'! That's because we athiests are hypocritical like that! Die, Christian!

THE END

Scary, isn't it?

Re:BUSINESS - JESUS = CORRUPTION AND THEFT (2, Insightful)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 5 years ago | (#25250847)

Jack, jack jack.

I wish you'd just go back to writing your hilarious cartoons.

Re:BUSINESS - JESUS = CORRUPTION AND THEFT (2, Funny)

cthulu_mt (1124113) | more than 5 years ago | (#25250927)

A +++

Would subscribe to your newsletter.

Re:BUSINESS - JESUS = CORRUPTION AND THEFT (0, Offtopic)

toadlife (301863) | more than 5 years ago | (#25251739)

Here you go [tbn.org] !

Re:BUSINESS - JESUS = CORRUPTION AND THEFT (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25251131)

Where's your neighborhood? I'm not sure I want to live there - but visiting would be entertaining.

Re:BUSINESS - JESUS = CORRUPTION AND THEFT (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25251391)

Keep 4chan copypasta on 4chan newfag

Re:BUSINESS - JESUS = CORRUPTION AND THEFT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25259553)

Rules 1 and 2. Also, I've never seen this copypasta on 4chan.

Re:BUSINESS - JESUS = CORRUPTION AND THEFT (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25251395)

Nice try novice but this is obviously bullshit because no self-respecting atheist woman would have an abortion when a fully born baby for sacrifices is much more valuable.

On a serious note, I'm glad you can't prove God exists so we'll never have to take your childish beliefs seriously.

Re:BUSINESS - JESUS = CORRUPTION AND THEFT (4, Funny)

hondo77 (324058) | more than 5 years ago | (#25252437)

So, if Business - Jesus = Theft + Corruption, it follows that Business = Theft + Corruption + Jesus!

Re:BUSINESS - JESUS = CORRUPTION AND THEFT (2, Interesting)

the_womble (580291) | more than 5 years ago | (#25254547)

So, if Business - Jesus = Theft + Corruption, it follows that Business = Theft + Corruption + Jesus!

Both you and the GP are assuming that Business and Jesus can run together. In fact there are well fundamental incompatibilities between the output Business produces and the input expected by Jesus. [bible.cc]

It is worth noting that other claimed incompatibilities are pure FUD [giffordlectures.org] .

The problem has been repeatedly highlighted by Jesus developers [st-michaels.org.uk] , and the project lead has recommended uninstalling business and similar proprietary [bible.cc] apps. This has been unpopular with Business advocates and probably contributed to his legal difficulties [katapi.org.uk] .

The most reliable approach is to use only software meeting the standards set by the Christ Software Foundation. Some people have taken this approach [anglican.org] , but they have had to be willing to accept limited access to some codecs [flickr.com] .

Some people have managed to run Money while Jesus executes in a separate VM [templeton.org] , but this is probably not a good idea. Jesus is really designed to run as a hypervisor [bible.ca] .

Re:BUSINESS - JESUS = CORRUPTION AND THEFT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25255843)

That could become one of the greatest Green Party slogans, and drag the corporation hating conspiracy nuts right in (at least this time around: Thanks Bear Stearns!): Put it on the front of a shirt with the new ARPA half-ass half-elephant logo, and a typical Green Party logo on the back.

Re:BUSINESS - JESUS = CORRUPTION AND THEFT (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25252847)

Mod parent down.

Anyone who can't spell "atheist" is a troll.

Re:BUSINESS - JESUS = CORRUPTION AND THEFT (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25253375)

Jesus Christ, Christians are IDIOTS!

Re:BUSINESS - JESUS = CORRUPTION AND THEFT (1)

ozphx (1061292) | more than 5 years ago | (#25261399)

Is their daughter hot?

ATHIEST DAUGHTER: Hi ozphx, I hear you have a massive cock!
ATHEIST OZPHX: Why yes, I certainly do, young lady!
ATHIEST DAUGHTER: Mind if I ride it for a while? I hear premarital sex is fun!
JESUS: Hell yes, give that slut one for me!
ATHIEST OZPHX: Thanks Jesus!

THE END

I thought there wasn't much more to say... (5, Informative)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 5 years ago | (#25250865)

...other than the caption in the article, "Michael Robertson - Greedy, crook or just incompetent?"

Then I found this earlier entry: http://kevincarmony.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2008-07-12T08:40:00-07:00&max-results=7 [blogspot.com]

It gives details on the company's structure and what Roberts was doing to steal money from the company. Interesting stuff.

Re:I thought there wasn't much more to say... (2, Interesting)

ray-auch (454705) | more than 5 years ago | (#25251355)

Sounds like things are the same the world over... with the key words being "minority shareholder".

Unless it's a public company (and sometimes even then) that tends to mean you have the right to get shafted (and not a lot else).

The majority (which could well be the guy you fell out with plus the one or two he bribed) can vote you down and do pretty much what they want - including selling for much less than the company is worth, or just diluting your equity to worthless. Of course, they'll be involved in whatever corporate entity benefits from the transaction - and you won't.

Oh, you might have lots of fancy contracts protecting minority shareholder rights etc. - but in the end they'll just be more worthless paper to file with the share certificates.

No no, I'm not bitter, not at all :-/

Re:I thought there wasn't much more to say... (1)

Raenex (947668) | more than 5 years ago | (#25260659)

Oh, you might have lots of fancy contracts protecting minority shareholder rights etc. - but in the end they'll just be more worthless paper to file with the share certificates.

Did you sue?

What? (1)

No2Gates (239823) | more than 5 years ago | (#25250959)

Wait, I thought since I founded the company, that I got to keep the cash. What is all this accounting mumbo-jumbo about? Sarbanes-Oxley? Who is he?

LNL (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25251015)

Linspire is not Linux ... it's a mutant created using a Linux kernel but designed around interoperability with MS Windows-type programming. Programs for Linspire are/were not free and certainly were not Linux ... actually there was very little about it that was Linux or even Linux-like. They were trying to make money off of being "not MS and not Linux, either".

Re:LNL (3, Informative)

Gavagai80 (1275204) | more than 5 years ago | (#25251325)

Uh, Linspire was as much linux as any other distro. It was KDE with all the usual programs, though most of them renamed. It included proprietary codecs and a commercial dvd player, but was 99% open source and had a 100% open source derivative freespire.

Re:LNL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25253091)

The real question is not if it was as linux as any other distro, but if it was as GNU.

Re:LNL (1)

oahazmatt (868057) | more than 5 years ago | (#25251415)

They were trying to make money off of being "not MS and not Linux, either".

How do they explain it "not selling"?

Re:LNL (1)

PalmKiller (174161) | more than 5 years ago | (#25251483)

Um, well then its Linux. Linux is just a kernel, nothing more, if it has the Linux kernel, its Linux. Now I think maybe you meant its not GNU/Linux or something along that lines of that perhaps.

Ummm... (3, Informative)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#25251081)

I fail to see how Linspire was ever profitable. It didn't offer anything revolutionary and was basically Debian/Ubuntu with a few extra features that no one cared about. Can someone please enlighten me on how Linspire was ever a force in the market?

Re:Ummm... (4, Funny)

ari_j (90255) | more than 5 years ago | (#25251137)

It doesn't matter - if it was bought out, the shareholders are entitled to value for their shares, no matter how little that might be. Wouldn't you be pissed off if you held a couple thousand shares and got deprived of your $1.25?

Re:Ummm... (2, Insightful)

Vectronic (1221470) | more than 5 years ago | (#25251155)

I don't think Linspire was every really profitable, nor was it ever a "force in the market" this is just about a couple shareholders wondering where the money they thought they were going to get...went...

Re:Ummm... Could it be that Linspire was... (1)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 5 years ago | (#25252197)

very unlinspiring?

Re:Ummm... (1)

Molochi (555357) | more than 5 years ago | (#25253143)

I do remember seeing Linspire CDs for sale at Fry's right next to the OEM Windows CDs. All the other linux distros were stuck it the linux section, far far away. Walmart sold Linspire systems as well. So some effective attempt at marketing it and getting product placement was made. Doesn't rule out embezzlement, but I think a good effort was made by the company to challenge the MS juggernaut. If I were a shareholder I would strongly question a lack of profit.

Re:Ummm... (1)

pak9rabid (1011935) | more than 5 years ago | (#25251169)

I fail to see how Linspire was ever profitable. It didn't offer anything revolutionary and was basically Debian/Ubuntu with a few extra features that no one cared about. Can someone please enlighten me on how Linspire was ever a force in the market?

I believe they made their money with OEMs and retail stores that were stupid enough to by their products and attempt to resell them.

Re:Ummm... (1)

ozphx (1061292) | more than 5 years ago | (#25261415)

You mean retail stores whose customers expect things like "DVD playback" to work?

Re:Ummm... (2, Informative)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 5 years ago | (#25251199)

I fail to see how Linspire was ever profitable.

Didn't Linspire get $20M from Microsoft for changing its name from Lindows?

Re:Ummm... (5, Informative)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 5 years ago | (#25251205)

As I recall, Walmart shipped Linspire as the OEM OS for a while. Deals like that tend to infuse quite a bit of cash into a small company like Linspire. Michael Roberts might have you believe that they had hundreds of engineers pouring their souls into improving Windows compatibility, but that's most likely Roberts being Roberts. (Which is to say an extreme exaggerator at best, an outright liar at worst.) Their actual burn rate doesn't sound like it was all that high based on the descriptions of the company.

Re:Ummm... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25255029)

I had some friends working at Xandros at the time. What heard was the Linspire sub-contracted all that work out to Xandros. So I don't think they had that many people working on it in house. I do know that the Xandros people did a fair bit of work, but I'm not 100% sure how much was free software and how much was proprietary.

It's interesting the Xandros ended up buying Linspire and the Linspire investors ended up with no money. Seems a bit fishy to me...

Click N Run (4, Insightful)

HalAtWork (926717) | more than 5 years ago | (#25251349)

Click N Run was one aspect responsible for their fame. They would take the care to improve and provide pre-configured desktop software in an interface that made it easy to install the software. This was before Synaptic Package Manager was able to do the same thing. Also, before they were called "Linspire", they had the controversial name "Lindows", which connoted that they were trying to provide a Linux desktop that would do things most typical Windows users wanted. A lot of users tried to switch to Linux many times but were frustrated by the experience, so this really had the power to draw a lot of people in. I think that Ubuntu and Fedora succeeded where Linspire failed though.

Re:Ummm... (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 5 years ago | (#25251377)

Well there's their Walmart deal, I believe they also got some money out of Microsoft as well.

Re:Ummm... (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 5 years ago | (#25252381)

"It didn't offer anything revolutionary and was basically Debian/Ubuntu with a few extra features that no one cared about"

Isn't there a similiar relationship between Linux and UNIX?

Re:Ummm... (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 5 years ago | (#25252699)

``I fail to see how Linspire was ever profitable. It didn't offer anything revolutionary and was basically Debian/Ubuntu with a few extra features that no one cared about.''

A lot of businesses profit by selling what someone else already does better for free.

Re:Ummm... (2, Interesting)

schotty (519567) | more than 5 years ago | (#25254373)

Although mostly true, as a former user, I can say the presentation + CNR was what made it a hit with the userbase.

CNR was the icing on the cake -- the package cake. Red Hat and Novell never had that. Now Canonical has something like it bundled with Ubuntu, as does Fedora with their own. Plus it was one of the cleaner KDE based desktops I have ever used. Coming from a diehard GNOME/Fluxbox guy -- that should be taken as some praise.

The only issue I saw with the distro was a lack of updates to the kernel. As we all know the kernel adds so much more than just some update, but rather more and imporved device support. It was awful at times to not have properly working modules when Fedora, SuSE, and Mandriva did.

I worked for Robertson (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25251201)

And this doesn't surprise me. He is a pretty shady character. He was the typical, ego-crazed rich guy who loved pushing everyone else around.

Ever since he tried to defend running as root, I never trusted the guy.

Re:I worked for Robertson (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25251421)

Ever since he tried to defend running as root

Well, how do you expect him to empty your bank accounts if you don't let him in through the back-end?

Re:I worked for Robertson (0, Offtopic)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#25252007)

I'd empty my balls if ellen page would let me in through her back-end

Re:I worked for Robertson (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25253735)

I worked for Michael Robertson at MP3.com. I was there pre-IPO. MP3.com was a wonderful place to work. My favorite gig ever. But dealing with Michael was the least pleasing aspect of the whole thing. He was incredibly arrogant, rude, and obnoxious.

I'll never forget how he treated this intern kid who was somebody's personal assistant or something. He said he was looking for some big meeting or something. I knew there was a meeting going on in the main conference room so I pointed him that way and followed him there to make sure he found it. He went in to the meeting presumably already in progress and said "I'm so and so's assistant here for such and such meeting" and Michael said "No you aren't, get out!" The poor dude was crushed and I felt bad for having steered him into Michael's venom.

I did ok financially out of MP3.com having sold the first quarter of my options as soon as they vested (the rest weren't worth much though) so I don't hold any grudge over money (although I know plenty who do and feel like Lindows and other ill-conceived ventures were funded using THEIR money after he cratered their stock options) I just feel bad for how he treated people.

I once heard one of the tech guys complaining about how Michael loved to say "If I gave you a million dollars could you make this work?!?!" And of course they did because they were rock stars and of course he didn't because he was a bastard.

Of course, Kevin Carmony was a douche and a half as well and I'm not surprised he had problems at Lindows. He definitely doesn't really get the Free Software thing or he never would have had anything to do with it. They were both trying to take advantage of the "suckers" who give their work away for free.

Posting anonymously because lots of ex-mp3'ers read /. and I still have to work in this town.

Re:I worked for Robertson (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25254919)

I worked for both Robertson and Carmony. I found Robertson to be as you described, but Carmony was great to work for. He and Robertson had lots of disagreements, and it was Robertson who refused to have a free version and such. First thing Carmony did when becoming CEO was to create Freespire, make CNR free, open source the CNR client, and so on. Robertson was one of the worst people I have ever worked for, Carmony one of the best.

Re:I worked for Robertson (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25256171)

Are you sure it was not Steve Jobs
?

A fool and his money... (2, Interesting)

haggie (957598) | more than 5 years ago | (#25251353)

Michael Robertson makes Charles Ponzi look legit. Investing in a Robertson start-up is moronic. You would get a better return if you had put $200K in an IndyMac savings account.

Re:A fool and his money... (1)

gujo-odori (473191) | more than 5 years ago | (#25252241)

No joke. Being from San Diego myself, there's no way I would work for, nor invest in, a Robertson-headed company. Back in the day, my brother interviewed at MP3.com after graduating from UCSD, when MP3.com was still a hot property. It was his good fortune that another company made him an offer first, and he took it. Not to say that Robertson's vision of one way digital music ought to work was necessarily a bad one, but he himself doesn't strike me as being all that capable of successfully implementing a visionary idea. Also, he almost certainly had to have known that he couldn't beat the record companies in court and that they would come after him hard. Whether he's dumb, a crook, or both shall be left as an exercise for the reader.

Habitual Failure (1)

bedouin (248624) | more than 5 years ago | (#25251407)

Every project this guy has touched has turned to shit.

What other manure piles should we avoid? (1)

zooblethorpe (686757) | more than 5 years ago | (#25253975)

For the /. record, what other projects should we be aware of?

Curious,

Re:What other manure piles should we avoid? (1)

revxul (463513) | more than 5 years ago | (#25256887)

Robertson was behind the original mp3.com, founded in 1997, which had an immense amount of independent music for free on it. I miss that site. He screwed it up in 2000 with my.mp3.com, a service in which users could register their CD collection and then stream it from the mp3.com servers from mp3s the site itself had ripped and stored. They were financially eviscerated via lawsuits and sold off to Vivendi Universal in 2001. Vivendi just couldn't make it work and dismantled the site entirely. The whole collection of independent music was tanked and the site was sold off to CNet in 2003. It is now a shadow of what it used to be.

Re:What other manure piles should we avoid? (1)

zooblethorpe (686757) | more than 5 years ago | (#25257041)

Interesting, my brother lost the one online portal he had for his original music when that site tanked. (He's since moved onto MySpace.) I'd wondered what had happened to mp3.com... Thanks for the description.

Are there any other projects of Robertson's that we should know about?

Cheers,

Re:What other manure piles should we avoid? (1)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 5 years ago | (#25259775)

According to the judge in EMI's case against mp3tunes.com [blogspot.com] he now operates mp3tunes.com and sideload.com.

Slow news day or what? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25251453)

I can't believe this kind of tripe is making the rounds at /. What's next? Bill Gates reveals his favorite color is peach?

Puhlease

Hey let's do the Lindows rock! (1, Offtopic)

Legion_SB (1300215) | more than 5 years ago | (#25251573)

Assets going lower now... going lower now... how loooow can they go?

First you do the steal and run
Embezzlement is so fun!
Lots of money in my house
Keep it quiet, don't tell the spouse!

Kevin Carmony, stupid hick!
Wants the cash back, what a dick!
All around the Lindows clock!
Hey let's do the Lindows rock! [kevincarmony.com]

Roll back (1)

Itninja (937614) | more than 5 years ago | (#25251819)

Time to start back-dating invoices and generating fake receipts. Not that he would actually be able to do that...I mean you would have to know people who were experts in computer....oh wait.

Former Fan (3, Interesting)

minus-sign (1371393) | more than 5 years ago | (#25252959)

I actually liked Linspire. The idea was simple and could have been very profitable: a Linux based OS that was professionally supported. You pay for patches and updates and know it retains support because, well, you pay for it. It didn't work out that way, but the theory was sound. Sorry to see its gone so very very bad.

I actually liked Linspire. (1)

falconwolf (725481) | more than 5 years ago | (#25253689)

I don't like Linspire, which I got preinstalled on a PC, so much as I liked the idea behind CNR [cnr.com] , Click N Run. I got it more than 2 years ago yet CNR hasn't done much since. They were supposed to create clients for other Linux distros but all they have now is Ubuntu and one other.

Falcon

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