×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Arrington's CrunchPad Dies

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 4 years ago | from the hooray-for-greed dept.

Portables 175

adeelarshad82 writes "Michael Arrington announced the death of the CrunchPad on Monday morning in a blog post heavily spiced with angst and drama. According to Arrington, the Crunchpad, a 12-inch Web tablet expected to be priced at about $300, was just days away from launch. At the last minute, however, Arrington received an email from Chandra Rathakrishnan, the chief executive of manufacturing partner Fusion Garage, apparently trying to cut Arrington out of the product on the eve of the launch. Fusion Garage, according to Arrington, wanted to market the device itself under its own name; which obviously was the deal breaker. Arrington claims that the company had overcome obstacles at every stage in the business such as deals with Intel, retail launch, securing venture capital and angel investments. Interesting bit is that some were already speculating that the Crunchpad was not real."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

175 comments

Unfortunate (2, Interesting)

milas (988484) | more than 4 years ago | (#30272160)

But here's to hoping it relaunches with an ARM processor running Chrome OS! This seems like the perfect application for it, really.

Re:Unfortunate (0, Offtopic)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30272212)

I wish they would had done it the same way Courier [wikipedia.org] is. After thinking about it, flat pad is kind of clumsy. Book like device [gizmodo.com] seems a lot nicer for surfing and reading in couch/bed. You can go into a much more comfortable position too.

Someone should create such with Chrome OS, actually (with an option to install another linux distro)

Re:Unfortunate (1)

jpedlow (1154099) | more than 4 years ago | (#30272710)

Sad, I was going to (wanted to) buy one. :( Although, one running chrome would be pretty B-A :)

Re:Unfortunate (4, Interesting)

TheModelEskimo (968202) | more than 4 years ago | (#30273040)

What's up with all the Chrome on ARM astroturfing around here...? It's quite obvious, guys.

Re:Unfortunate (2, Insightful)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 4 years ago | (#30273782)

I think it is just a new level of fanboyism, to proclaim perfection as being the combination of an OS you've never used or seen installed on hardware you've never used or seen.

I'm hodling out for FooOS on a FooPad running FooChip. Think of anything you might like to do, either with a computer or without. FooCombo can facilitate that.

Re:Unfortunate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30274440)

A battery life measured in days, rather than hours?

Re:Unfortunate (1)

jhol13 (1087781) | more than 4 years ago | (#30273712)

Why? There are phones which run full Linux (N900, Android, ...), why an earth would someone want to have less powerful OS on a tablet?

Seeing Arrington's rants... (4, Insightful)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30272164)

It wouldn't be a surprise if the whole thing was just a hoax. Like the other article says:

Arrington, who is not a journalist (and has never professed to be one), regularly talks to financial guys, with close ties to virtually every major technology company. He's also plugged into these same companies at even higher levels. Oh, and he also invests in companies he writes about. At times, this can make his information incredibly prescient and also highly self-serving. The problem is, no one can tell the difference.

And a few days before launch and dies for such a stupid reason? Please.

Re:Seeing Arrington's rants... (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#30272396)

It wouldn't be a surprise if the whole thing was just a hoax. Like the other article says:

Arrington, who is not a journalist (and has never professed to be one), regularly talks to financial guys, with close ties to virtually every major technology company. He's also plugged into these same companies at even higher levels. Oh, and he also invests in companies he writes about. At times, this can make his information incredibly prescient and also highly self-serving. The problem is, no one can tell the difference.

And a few days before launch and dies for such a stupid reason? Please.

Then what were we seeing in the videos [youtube.com] on Youtube [youtube.com]? Really expensive tablet PCs? They couldn't get that down to $200? I'm just confused as to what his motivation would be ... I think inflating your stock with a fake product and then dumping all the stock you have before it crashes would look hilariously like insider trading. So what's going on? What do they mean by "plugged into these same companies at even higher levels"?

In his 'rant' he's also calling these people out on infringing on his (and other people's) IP if they launch ... which are pretty heavy claims. I kind of get the feeling this isn't a hoax and there will be serious fallout one way or the other if they don't iron things out between each other. IP suit if it launches and fruitless R&D and production money if it doesn't.

Re:Seeing Arrington's rants... (3, Informative)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 4 years ago | (#30274288)


Arrington is a Stanford educated lawyer with former clients such as Pixar and Apple. If he's making claims like this in his blog, they're not going to be spurious. He'll know what he's doing.

Re:Seeing Arrington's rants... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30272476)

Well, you can also see a prototype on Fusion Garage's web site.

Re:Seeing Arrington's rants... (5, Interesting)

WaywardGeek (1480513) | more than 4 years ago | (#30272626)

And a few days before launch and dies for such a stupid reason? Please.

I'm guessing you've never started a company. When you do, you'll find out that a fair number of your friends turn into psychopaths when money is involved. This is why the best number of partners in any new venture is 1. I got screwed by AMIS in a somewhat similar situation. We co-developed the Express Array using our technology from cell design to routing. The first chip came out and worked 8 months after we started this very aggressive project. The day the chip worked, AMIS basically said "we don't need you anymore. Fuck off and die now." For AMIS, the entire project was delayed a year. It was incredible, unexplainable stupidity. And yet, it's an entirely common story.

Re:Seeing Arrington's rants... (5, Interesting)

bckspc (172870) | more than 4 years ago | (#30273414)

I was just going to post something to the same effect. A good friend of mine was pushed out of his company by his partner, board, and angel investors when his invention was close to launch. Another friend turned evil on me when our own start-up company was approached about acquisition. Even though we were 50-50 partners, I still feel like I got shafted. And every slashdot reader knows that Windows is dominant not because of its technical merits, but because of legal -- and illegal -- bullying. Screw or be screwed seems to be the name of the game. Sometimes it seems the only way to win is not to play.

Re:Seeing Arrington's rants... (4, Interesting)

asackett (161377) | more than 4 years ago | (#30273862)

If I had mod points I'd award a quadrillion of them for:

I'm guessing you've never started a company. When you do, you'll find out that a fair number of your friends turn into psychopaths when money is involved. This is why the best number of partners in any new venture is 1.

I've seen this too many times. For anyone who hans't: If you want to know what a partnership is like, here's what you do: Come up with a great idea, then work yourself nearly to death over 18 months to two years while ignoring your family, friends, and health. When the idea has been made tangible and needs just a few minor tweaks, hand over all of your work to someone you'll never want to see again.

Re:Seeing Arrington's rants... (3, Informative)

bvankuik (203077) | more than 4 years ago | (#30274616)

Problem is that without partners, you do not have any leverage whatsoever. I am sorry for playing bullshit bingo, but leverage means here that with two partners, you can do more together than each partner separately could have done. Doing everything yourself is a good way to limit yourself or put a weakness in your product (because for instance you know jack shit about electronics which plays a nontrivial role in your product).

I am a business owner and have run a couple of projects for clients. I do not have any partners but I have the same supplier for over two years. We have a client-supplier relation but even there, you need the combination of rules and understanding. But lately I notice that we will never grow beyond calculating costs for the next project. You need partners for that.

If that is fine with you, then do it yourself. I know I will. I am just not a team player and way too bone headed and authoritative to play nice with a partner. However that means a big limitation (besides the obvious strengths).

Angst and Drama? Try Hilarity (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#30272166)

Email from Chandra's shareholder:

We still acknowledge that Arrington and TechCrunch bring some value to your business endeavorIf 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.

Translation:

I'd like to cash in on Arrington's hard work. Does he have some sort of puppeteer's slot in his ass or lower back where we could shove our arm during launches? Or is he run by remote control? Does he come with instructions or ... how does this 'Arrington thing' work exactly? Please toss him the offer of looking like Steve Jobs in the eyes of the public but being my subservient bitch behind the curtains and being forever financially crippled. If he requests vasaline, we may be able to find some funding somewhere but we're not making any promises. There are sharks and there are sheep ...

Honestly, I applaud Arrington's levelheaded response. I believe mine would have consisted of nothing more than "WTF?" and an image [27bslash6.com].

Aside from all that, I'm sad because I really was excited to see what came out of this and would have been interested after the price dropped a bit. I mean, depending on battery life, you'd have to be nuts to get a Kindle over this.

Re:Angst and Drama? Try Hilarity (2, Insightful)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 4 years ago | (#30272264)

On the other hand, let's see what Fusion Garage ships. Might be ok. Too bad Arrington gets cut out of the deal. You'd think a lawyer would have better smarts about these things.

Oh, wait....

Re:Angst and Drama? Try Hilarity (5, Interesting)

cabjf (710106) | more than 4 years ago | (#30272418)

Unless they rework everything that touches the co-owned intellectual property, there is no way Fusion Garage can legally ship anything. Arrington said as much and stated that a lawsuit would be waiting for Fusion Garage should they attempt to ship anything without CrunchPad's approval.

Re:Angst and Drama? Try Hilarity (1)

jythie (914043) | more than 4 years ago | (#30274572)

Which makes me think Fusion Garage had a bit of group think between a bunch of non-lawyers that convinced themselves that they would get away with something like this.

Re:Angst and Drama? Try Hilarity (1)

COMON$ (806135) | more than 4 years ago | (#30273086)

Ya, and in 2 years we will see yet another RIM style lawsuit, this seems to be the style of things now adays. Either way, this is the first time I have seen this device and I sure would have bought one. But I think the apple tablet might be along the lines of what I will end up getting.

Re:Angst and Drama? Try Hilarity (1)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 4 years ago | (#30273168)

Who knows? Tablet vaporstuff is in vogue... even Barnes and Noble can't ship one. Bezos is selling 'em like hot cakes.

I think the patent on paper has expired.YMMV.

Re:Angst and Drama? Try Hilarity (4, Insightful)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 4 years ago | (#30272344)

The Kindle is actually $260 now, and it has an non-backlit eInk screen with a three-week battery-life. It has always-on, free 3G internet access, and it has accesses to the gigantic Amazon digital book store.

This thing might have been a cool (concept for a) gadget, but it is certainly not a replacement for the Kindle. The Kindle is aimed at (and is perfect for) people who like to read BOOKS.

Re:Angst and Drama? Try Hilarity (2, Informative)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 4 years ago | (#30272588)

Meh. I'm holding out for a Nook [barnesandnoble.com]. More open, more features, same price.

Re:Angst and Drama? Try Hilarity (2, Funny)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 4 years ago | (#30272654)

Meh. I'm holding out for a Nook [barnesandnoble.com]. More open, more features, same price.

My wife's is supposed to ship today. She placed her order within an hour of announcement and hopefully won't get hit by the 2010 bump.

Re:Angst and Drama? Try Hilarity (2, Funny)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | more than 4 years ago | (#30272720)

I got notification from UPS a bit earlier today that they had a package for me. Since the only package I'm waiting on at the moment is a Nook, I think your wife will be getting hers. (I ordered a few days after the announcement.)

Re:Angst and Drama? Try Hilarity (1)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 4 years ago | (#30272886)

That thing looks great, too. But how many books are available for it? Until most publishers wise up and start offering DRM-free books, the size of the library your ebook has access to is an extremely important factor.

Re:Angst and Drama? Try Hilarity (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#30273050)

That thing looks great, too. But how many books are available for it? Until most publishers wise up and start offering DRM-free books, the size of the library your ebook has access to is an extremely important factor.

Nobody would ever trade ebooks like they trade music. Nope.

Re:Angst and Drama? Try Hilarity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30273730)

And this is an issue how? People trade BOOKS and there are even publicly funded entities facilitating this! I've spent at least $300 on books by an author that I found I liked after borrowing books from a friend. Libraries are good for (active) authors as they introduce them to readers with zero financial risk and if they enjoy them enough, they are likely to buy their own copy rather than wait for the library's.
I admit that the ability to loan a copy immediately is a change, but you could easily set things up to switch from DRM to DRM-free after the first month (pirated copies will be available regardless by then). This avoids the nasty side effects of the DRM managers folding, depriving you of goods that you paid for.

Re:Angst and Drama? Try Hilarity (1)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | more than 4 years ago | (#30273236)

Actually, that's one of the advantages of the Nook in my opinion: It uses an open, standard format (EPUB) as it's normal book format. The format supports DRM, but doesn't require it, and there are quite a few ebook stores out there already selling books in epub format. Nearly every other ebook reader on the market is also supporting the epub format. (The exception is the Kindle, which uses a proprietary format.)

Current bestsellers are likely to be DRM'd if you can find them, but most of everything else is available and non-DRM'd, if you look.

Re:Angst and Drama? Try Hilarity (1)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 4 years ago | (#30273386)

In slashdot parlance, you are spreading FUD. The Kindle most certainly uses non-proprietary book formats. You can use mobi, txt, and pdf directly, for example. Any other format can be used by via conversion.

Having a more limited selection of books for the Nook is not an advantage of the Nook; it's an advantage of the Kindle.

Re:Angst and Drama? Try Hilarity (2, Informative)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | more than 4 years ago | (#30273784)

mobi is a proprietary format (it is owned by a company, and they control the format), and Kindle's version isn't straight mobi, it's a slight modification. Txt and pdf aren't ebook formats. (They are text and e-paper formats, respectively. Yes, there is a difference.) And the Nook can use those as well.

epub is a true open format: available to any without licensing fees and such. Software is available freely to convert books and other text into it, and out of it should you so choose. (Provided they haven't been encrypted using the DRM provision, of course.)

And it's the Kindle that has the more limited selection: Epub is the more common format, and the Nook also supports the older (proprietary) eReader format, that has been used for around 10 years, starting on the Palm platform.

I fully expect to be able to read 70-90% of my current library of ebooks without conversion on my Nook. I'd have to convert 100%, using Amazon's service, on the Kindle.

Re:Angst and Drama? Try Hilarity (2, Informative)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 4 years ago | (#30274650)

I'm not sure if your confusion stems from the fact that this is to complicated for you to understand, or that you don't want to understand.

First, the Kindle supports mobi. Regular, non-DRM mobi format. Your claim otherwise is factually, indisputably false.

Secondly, it's the number of books supported that matters. If a book is only available in a format the Nook can't read but the Kindle can, the fact that the Nook supports your favorite format doesn't count for shit.

So in conclusion: both the Kindle and the Nook support open ebook formats. The Kindle also supports the format used by the Amazon store; the nook does not. If the number of books available from the Amazon store is much larger than those available for the Nook, that's a serious advantage for the Kindle as an ebook reader.

Good luck to B&N. I hope they get full publisher support eventually. Without it, the Nook will be a 2nd-class citizen of the ebook world.

Re:Angst and Drama? Try Hilarity (1)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 4 years ago | (#30273690)

Looking at the specs [barnesandnoble.com], it reads PDF, eReader and EPUB in addition to B&N's own format, so a lot of ground is covered outside of just B&N's store (eg Project Gutenberg) but you're right, it will be up to publishers to say "we want nook users to be able to read this" either through B&N or some other means.

If B&N moves forward with opening it to developers (even if we're only allowed to use wifi) I will buy at least one.

mods on crack (Re:Angst and Drama? Try Hilarity) (5, Insightful)

corbettw (214229) | more than 4 years ago | (#30272532)

This whole thread has been modded Troll. I'm guessing the CEO of Fusion Garage somehow got mod points.

Re:mods on crack (Re:Angst and Drama? Try Hilarity (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#30272554)

It seems to happen from time to time. I figure it is people 'protesting' something to do with the moderation system.

Re:Angst and Drama? Try Hilarity (2, Interesting)

jfruhlinger (470035) | more than 4 years ago | (#30272870)

Translation: I'd like to cash in on Arrington's hard work.

I have no reason to doubt that Arrington is being screwed here, and that he does in fact have intellectual property rights that are being trampled on, but how much hard work did he actually do on this thing? My understanding is that he mostly said, "I want this thing with these specs at this price, make it happen" and his manufacturing partner is the one that actually built it.

Arrington is providing (a) his services as a sort of ideal end-user (i.e. if this one tech-savvy guy really, really wants a thing that works exactly like this, there's probably a market for it) and (b) a ready-made market in the shape of his extensive and influential (in tech circles) audience. The latter indeed took hard work to amass, but he's not the one who actually built the CrunchPad.

Re:Angst and Drama? Try Hilarity (2, Interesting)

interval1066 (668936) | more than 4 years ago | (#30272994)

...but how much hard work did he actually do on this thing?

Doesn't matter. The post clearly shows (if accurate) that Arrington owns a piece of the intellectual property that make up the CrunchPad. Its as if a bunch of different people got together to make a pizza chain with one guy coming up with the name, logo, mascot, and business plan, and the other guys deciding to ace that first guy out yet retaining all of that first guy's input. Its a blatant rip-off of Arrington, no matter how much work he did. If you own a piece, you own a piece. That fact isn't up for debate. I bet you'd be pissed off too if this happened to you; even if you spent all the development time sitting on your couch channel surfing.

Re:Angst and Drama? Try Hilarity (3, Insightful)

node 3 (115640) | more than 4 years ago | (#30273740)

Doesn't matter. The post clearly shows (if accurate) that Arrington owns a piece of the intellectual property that make up the CrunchPad.

So, patents are *good* today? It's tough to keep track...

Seriously, Arrington clearly bit off *far* more than he could chew. Any jackass can "invent" a tablet. "10 inch screen, wireless, touch input, long battery life, less than $300!" How hard is that? The hard part is actually designing, manufacturing, and bringing the product to market. Those things are *very* difficult. That's why all those great ideas everyone comes up with never happen.

Arrington's posts about the CrunchPad were *always* exaggerated and idealistic in tone. These are good signs that he was deluded and had a fantasy of grandeur. This was compounded by the slashdot-types who would *love* a CrunchPad.

Arrington clearly had the desire, the drive and the imagination, and even that's a lot. After all, he got a lot further than any of us would have. But he clearly didn't have what it takes to make the product real. If the product *really* was just "days away" from production, and if he *really* has done all the work people are attributing to him, he could just take his project to someone else. But he can't, because he really *didn't* do as much as he thought, and he really *wasn't* just days away from production.

Too bad, too. Because the CrunchPad sure did *sound* like a great *idea*.

Re:Angst and Drama? Try Hilarity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30274592)

If the product *really* was just "days away" from production, and if he *really* has done all the work people are attributing to him, he could just take his project to someone else.

[citation needed]

Re:Angst and Drama? Try Hilarity (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 4 years ago | (#30273052)

I have no reason to doubt that Arrington is being screwed here, and that he does in fact have intellectual property rights that are being trampled on, but how much hard work did he actually do on this thing? My understanding is that he mostly said, "I want this thing with these specs at this price, make it happen" and his manufacturing partner is the one that actually built it.

This needs to be propped up as a shining example of what will happen to all U.S.A. IP companies in the next century unless they get manufacturing back in the US again. It's just the start of the rest of the world realizing: "Hey, we're making this stuff; you're just the guys who gave us the ephemeral part." (well, not really, China's realized it for a long time now, but they just make off-branded copies)

Re:Angst and Drama? Try Hilarity (3, Informative)

Myrv (305480) | more than 4 years ago | (#30273186)

I have no reason to doubt that Arrington is being screwed here, and that he does in fact have intellectual property rights that are being trampled on, but how much hard work did he actually do on this thing? My understanding is that he mostly said, "I want this thing with these specs at this price, make it happen" and his manufacturing partner is the one that actually built it.

Well, to Arrignton's credit he (or the TechCrunch side of things) did build the first prototype [techcrunch.com]. He also provided office space for Fusion Garage and no doubt was integral in the testing. There's also a lot of talk about setting up distribution and funding although it's hard to say how much of that was Arringtons doing. Overall I would say Arrington has contributed at least an equal share into the project.

They're right.... (1, Interesting)

cephalien (529516) | more than 4 years ago | (#30272184)

It -isn't- real.

Not until they're actually being produced.

So yes, this is vaporware (at least for now)

Michael Arrogant Fail (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30272222)

After a lot of bluster from Mr. Arrogant on how easy and possible the development of a tablet computer should be, I couldn't imagine a sweeter and more fitting finish. Please Score this a 1. I just had to get it off my chest. Aaah, feel better now.

Re:Michael Arrogant Fail (2, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#30272658)

To be fair, it sounds like the technological side of the job was fairly simple. Knock together some commodity parts, put on a coat of polish, all set.

The "dealing with everybody's least favorite social primate" part, on the other hand...

Arrogant Power Play (2, Interesting)

FireIron (838223) | more than 4 years ago | (#30272240)

I would have been a customer for this device, but after this I will not now or ever buy anything under the Fusion Garage brand.

Re:Arrogant Power Play (1, Troll)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 4 years ago | (#30272986)

I would have been a customer for this device, but after this I will not now or ever buy anything under the Fusion Garage brand.

For some reason, the link where Fusion Garage gives their side of the story is missing in my browser. Can you provide me with it? I know you must have it, because only an idiot would make a kneejerk response like that based on having heard only one side of a story like this.

(And no, if Arrington turns out to be the one in the right here, you're still an idiot for jumping to conclusions without having heard all the evidence first).

Re:Arrogant Power Play (2, Funny)

jjohnson (62583) | more than 4 years ago | (#30273226)

only an idiot would make a kneejerk response like that based on having heard only one side of a story like this.

You must be new here.

Re:Arrogant Power Play (4, Funny)

FireIron (838223) | more than 4 years ago | (#30273286)

For some reason, the link where Fusion Garage gives their side of the story is missing in my browser. Can you provide me with it?

For some reason, the clause in the Slashdot TOS that requires me to hear both sides of an argument before rendering my personal opinion is missing in my browser. Can you provide me with it?

Re:Arrogant Power Play (2, Informative)

bugnuts (94678) | more than 4 years ago | (#30274542)

For some reason, the link where Fusion Garage gives their side of the story is missing in my browser. Can you provide me with it?

A tiny amount of digging would show that they have a blog. [fusiongarage.com]

In it, they state they are doing the software for it, and the entire vision of the product is from Arrington. There cannot be a product without a vision on what is needed. In patent law, the person that has the actual vision has rights to the patent, no matter how many people are involved in the technical aspects (i.e. building it).

My thoughts are that Arrington should hire a team to write the software to his specs, and get a product out the door.

Good luck with that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30274388)

Aside from your snide reply to being asked a very legitimate question...

Do you really think anyone cares? Slashdolts always make these claims that they're going to boycott this or refuse to work with some company because of an issue of some sort. In fact these claims have also been the basis of many a fanboi crying that Microsoft is going to fail any day now. I've been hearing that claim every time MS fumbles the ball for 10 years. I still have yet to see you guys get one right.

This product is fail, IMHO, from a technology aspect. But the truth of the matter is that I wouldn't care less about the political aspect of the company unless they were skinning animals alive or selling children into the slave trade. If they had a good product I'd put my money down to buy it just like anyone else.

Sorry but if you really think you're going to change this kind of thing you need to work on companies that really deserve the beat down first. This, to me, is just one businessman taking advantage of the short sightedness of another businessman. Every society has this happening all the time. And why should I boycott a company because someone else wasn't smart enough to cover themselves?

Didn't die (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30272274)

It would be more accurate to say CrunchPad was miscarried.

Days from Launch? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30272290)

When you write "days from launch", do you mean that there are thousands of boxes of these things sitting in distribution centers, waiting to go to stores?

Or do you mean they were hoping the printer was going to deliver a new batch of "CrunchPad" decals in a few days, designed to fit over the "Dell" logo on the laptop they were going to use in upcoming demos?

Re:Days from Launch? (2, Informative)

dagamer34 (1012833) | more than 4 years ago | (#30272674)

I don't think you read the article because it addressed that very point. They were days away from a public announcement and they had some units ready to go for the press and then this shit gets pulled on him.

Re:Days from Launch? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30272974)

Yes, I read the article, and they had two hand-built versions of this thing, that sometimes ran for up to an hour before crashing.

Also, they invented a time machine, because somehow these setbacks went backwards in time and prevented them from holding the pre-launch part scheduled for November 20th.

I'm not sure where anyone gets "days from launch" from that, and I'm not sure why the Slashdot editors felt that including it in their "summary" would increase revenue.

Re:Days from Launch? (2, Informative)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 4 years ago | (#30274128)

Yes, I read the article, and they had two hand-built versions of this thing, that sometimes ran for up to an hour before crashing.

Also, they invented a time machine, because somehow these setbacks went backwards in time and prevented them from holding the pre-launch part scheduled for November 20th.

I'm not sure where anyone gets "days from launch" from that, and I'm not sure why the Slashdot editors felt that including it in their "summary" would increase revenue.

You're a moron. The article doesn't say that it ran "up to an hour before crashing", it said "it ran for several hours without crashing" which he said was good enough for demos. Fair enough. I don't know where the Hell you got the part about having two hand-built versions of the thing and there's nothing like that in the article. As regards the time machine... The possibility that he is narrating events that happened a couple of weeks ago rather than today seems to be beyond your comprehension. The official launch was set for the 20th. The fatal email came through a few days before that. Wisely, Arrington did not post the story until he'd pursued things privately first, hence the news breaks today. Wow - did you fail to comprehend the article!

principles principles.. (1, Interesting)

VMaN (164134) | more than 4 years ago | (#30272380)

I wonder if I'll still stick to my principles if the "wrong" company will produce this thing..

Shareholders... (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30272402)

...smells like Apple or Microsoft got hold of some of the shareholders or of the CEO.

Hows that for conspiracy?

AC

Re:Shareholders... (2, Insightful)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 4 years ago | (#30272954)

Meh, just seems like classic moneygrubbing stupidity.

"We want more money from this otherwise you can't have it!" is a rallying cry too often seen in the world of music rights to TV show DVD releases. I mean, take WKRP. Instead of cutting a deal, the rates to relicence the music remained too high to include the original track. So the rightsholders end up losing money, the customers get a subpar product, and no one really wins.

Take the money and run; keep trying to win against the banker will just get you the suitcase with $1 when you should've settled for the $17,000 offer.

some of us (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30272416)

Some of us were highly skeptical of the claims he was making all along. Curious to see that the whole thing died because the contracts apparently forgot to include a clause that his company actually owns the device they're producing (one of the first things any company would 100% ensure is in there). Fitting end for a guy who seems like such an asshole.

CrunchPad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30272426)

Too busy to RTFA, but is that some kind of toilet-based tablet?

Who Is Doing What? (5, Insightful)

Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) | more than 4 years ago | (#30272604)

I'm not sure what Arrington is bringing to the party here. He's not an engineer that I know of, but more of a money guy. It seems like Fusion Garage was doing all of the heavy lifting on the project. It's not clear how much skin Arrington had in the game. If he was providing serious development capital, he has a point. If all he was providing was "vision" and bloviation and hype via his blog, with maybe a seriously minority share of the capital, then he should STFU. There must be some sort of written contract for a venture like this. Let's see what it says.

Personally, I don't feel that the branding of something with "Arrington", "Tech Crunch", or "Crunchpad" brings a lot to the table.

Re:Who Is Doing What? (4, Informative)

pitchaxistheory (844824) | more than 4 years ago | (#30272676)

I've been keenly following the development of this device in the hopes of getting one before Christmas. Anyway, here's a newspaper article dated Aug '09 about the company behind all the "heavy lifting". Seems that they got into a partnership with Arrington with the hopes of him being the marketing guy. http://www.straitstimes.com/Breaking%2BNews/Singapore/Story/STIStory_410527.html [straitstimes.com]

Re:Who Is Doing What? (2, Insightful)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 4 years ago | (#30273022)

"If all he was providing was "vision" and bloviation and hype via his blog, with maybe a seriously minority share of the capital, then he should STFU."

As much as I hate Arrington and the "CrunchPad" because better $300 Tablet PCs already exist [ebay.com], I would have to disagree with you on this. Manufacturing a device and getting it to market is one thing, but advertising it is the other side of the coin. Hell look at the pet rock, anyone could literally make a "pet" rock at home for free, yet the idea made the creator a millionaire within 6 months [wikipedia.org], all through advertising and hype.

I think Arrington was doing his fair share just blogging and creating hype over the product, he even managed to get it on slashdot 5 times. [slashdot.org] Announcing that the product is vaporware likely killed his credibility with blogs and fans worldwide, he will never be trusted again when he announces a new product.

Re:Who Is Doing What? (1)

Brett Buck (811747) | more than 4 years ago | (#30273644)

I'm not sure what Arrington is bringing to the party here. He's not an engineer that I know of, but more of a money guy.

        Uh, try doing this project *without* a money guy, and see how far you get. Then you will know what he is bringing to the party.

      I'm an engineer, too, but you have to recognize that to do something like this requires a lot more than engineering.

        Brett

Re:Who Is Doing What? (1)

tbuskey (135499) | more than 4 years ago | (#30273854)

Replace CrunchPad with Macintosh and Arrington with Jobs if it helps outline who does what.

Ok, Jobs probably got into lots more detail, but he's not an engineer or programmer. Jobs certainly was a major factor in the Mac's design.

I'd say Arrington is probably similar with the Crunchpad. He provided 2 prototypes, office space, access to Silicon Valley capital.

Re:Who Is Doing What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30274256)

I'm not sure what Arrington is bringing to the party here. He's not an engineer that I know of, but more of a money guy. It seems like Fusion Garage was doing all of the heavy lifting on the project. It's not clear how much skin Arrington had in the game. If he was providing serious development capital, he has a point. If all he was providing was "vision" and bloviation and hype via his blog, with maybe a seriously minority share of the capital, then he should STFU.

Replace "Arrington" with "Jobs", and "Fusion Garage" with "Apple" and see how far that goes.

Re:Who Is Doing What? (1)

element-o.p. (939033) | more than 4 years ago | (#30274444)

Vision and (as much as I hate to say it) marketing are indeed valuable parts of developing a product. Do you think Bill Gates wrote all of the code that made Microsoft what it is? Maybe in the DOS days, but I seriously doubt that he contributed a significant portion of the 29+ million lines of code in Windows 2000 [wikipedia.org]...or even a significant portion of the 4-5 million lines of code in WinNT3.1. No, Gates was the guy with the vision and the connections. How about Steve Jobs? From what I understood, Woz did the heavy lifting back in the day, but Jobs provided the drive, the vision and the marketing that made Apple a household name.

Like it or not, this is why most of us reading /. will most likely remain obscure: we can do the heavy lifting, and we may even have the vision, but marketing and advertising are essential if you ever want to have anyone outside of your mom and dad know what you developed in your spare time in the basement.

Hire a lawyer (5, Insightful)

harmonise (1484057) | more than 4 years ago | (#30272606)

Airing your dirty laundry on your blog is a sure-fire way to alienate the very people with which you want to reach an agreement. You've no doubt made it harder to resolve your differences amicably, even if Fusion Garage were the ones being dicks.

Re:Hire a lawyer (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30272678)

Arrington himself is a lawyer.

Re:Hire a lawyer (3, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#30272686)

It isn't clear(particularly given that Arrington specifically classifies the crunchpad as being "in the deadpool") that he has any real interest in reaching an agreement.

If, for whatever reason, he considers it highly unlikely that they'll be able to come to any agreement useful to him, it wouldn't be totally unexpected for him to attempt to pay the other guy back, and then some, in his own coin. Refuse to budge on any trademark/IP/whatever issues, indefinitely scuttling a release anywhere in the WIPO world, and use his considerable blog-fu to sink whatever is left.

Re:Hire a lawyer (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 4 years ago | (#30273140)

I wish more people would do things that way.
Keeping your trap shut for your own self-interest may be the smart thing to do.
But letting everyone else know just how douchey the other guy is may end up doing everybody else a favor.

It's like those non-disclosure terms for a lot of liability settlements. Its great for the one guy who would otherwise get dicked over, but then the guilty party is free to continue with their bad practices potentially harming lots of other people who would otherwise have been forewarned.

Re:Hire a lawyer (3, Insightful)

analog_line (465182) | more than 4 years ago | (#30273054)

I very much doubt that an amicable settlement is desired by either party.

FusionGarage's shareholders think they can use Michael Arrington's personal investment in the project as leverage to get more ownership of the product. This situation has apparently been unfolding out of the public eye for at least a couple of weeks, according to Arrington's post. They're playing hardball, and they figure that they can shove the terms of this new deal down Arrington's throat because he doesn't want the public embarrassment of not getting it done, and not wanting his baby to be stillborn. I'm sure that those shareholders have done this successfully with a lot of other wide eyed tech entrepreneurs. The shareholders probably believe that what is likely a minor investment in the grand scheme of things can be risked. If they lose it all because Arrington decides to call their bluff, they very well may not care.

Michael Arrington more likely than not went into this in a totally naive manner. I wouldn't doubt that there are a number of things he did wrong that enabled this situation. However, that doesn't change the fact that his partners are now attemtpting to blackmail him, probably legally. They have part ownership of the IP, that means they have a voice. However, Arrington has that same part ownership. He also, as the saying goes, buys ink by the gallon. He has decided that he's willing to shoot the hostage and eat the loss rather than see the people who betrayed his (naive) trust profit.

As he said, there's going to be lawsuits back and forth on this, and the place this will be resolved is in the court system, probably many years down the line.

Re:Hire a lawyer (1)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 4 years ago | (#30273834)


Sometimes it's worth taking some pain yourself in order to punish the other party. It may not be a good short-term strategy, but it can sure as Hell be a good long-term strategy. Feels good, too.

Love the sig. by the way. Come to think of it, nice nick, also. ;)

Lesson #1: Might Makes Right (5, Interesting)

mpapet (761907) | more than 4 years ago | (#30272624)

This is pretty run-of-the-mill back stabbing in OEM/ODM business.

1. The manufacturer sees an opportunity with a weak 'partner'
2. Screws the partner.
3. Profit!

The thing is 'Fusion Garage' would have screwed him even if they worked a geographic restrictions deal out. If there was any meaningful market acceptance, any number of bigger OEM's would have taken their lunch in ~24 months.

Sad it has to go like this, but this very common unless you are an HP/Apple/Dell. Typical chicken-egg capitalism problem.

Totally moronic approach (1)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 4 years ago | (#30272632)

Even a geek with full-blown asperger's syndrome could predict how Arrington and his crew would react to this approach to renegotiating the IP rights. If they had been at least moderately smart about it, they would have come forward with some sort of half-serious offer like buying out some of TechCrunch's equity in the IP or agreeing to assume TechCruch's liability for the business side of getting it out there, warranting it, etc. in exchange for a greater cut of the pie.

This... just comes off as a blatant attempt to stab a partner in the back if this story can be believed.

And nothing of value was lost (3, Funny)

slyborg (524607) | more than 4 years ago | (#30272680)

The only reason anyone is talking about this is because of Arrington's relentless zeal for self-promotion. I never thought this thing was going to happen, and in regard to keeping Arrington's name in circulation, it was a smashing success. The only thing missing from this soap opera is that Google/Microsoft/Apple diabolically combined with SMERSH to stop the CrunchPud before it could lead to world peace.

Re:And nothing of value was lost (1)

uvajed_ekil (914487) | more than 4 years ago | (#30273266)

Yeah, and a project like this could be killed on the eve of its "launch?" Right. If this is that great of an idea, all the technical stuff has been worked out, a bunch of folks have dumped a bundle of money into, and they can really sell it for $300, someone will find a way to make it work. Do I think that is the case? Nope. If it were, we'd be talking about a real launch, not arguments over who gets how much of the alleged profits.

Re:And nothing of value was lost (1)

Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) | more than 4 years ago | (#30273770)

>The only thing missing from this soap opera is that Google/Microsoft/Apple diabolically combined with SMERSH to stop the CrunchPud

You're on the right track, but in order to be credible, a conspiracy theory must include the Knights Templar.

Re:And nothing of value was lost (1)

mujadaddy (1238164) | more than 4 years ago | (#30274094)

>The only thing missing from this soap opera is that Google/Microsoft/Apple diabolically combined with SMERSH to stop the CrunchPud

You're on the right track, but in order to be credible, a conspiracy theory must include the Knights Templar.

That's just what the Rosicrucians would like you to think!

News Flash! (1)

locallyunscene (1000523) | more than 4 years ago | (#30272784)

Interesting bit is that some were already speculating that the Crunchpad was not real."

Internet claims unreleased product is vaporware. Not interesting.

Quoted link in TFS is referring to googlephone, not crunchpad FWIW.

Whether these claims of backstabbing to death a product just before release and if it is par for the course as some posters have claimed is what flips my interesting bit.

The device was stable enough for a demo. (2, Funny)

cjjjer (530715) | more than 4 years ago | (#30272862)

It went hours without crashing.

...Good selling point.

Its called a shot-gun clause... (3, Insightful)

IpSo_ (21711) | more than 4 years ago | (#30272874)

ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS have a shot-gun clause [wikipedia.org] with a hard time limit in any significant partnership agreement. This "co-owned" 50/50 split stuff is BS and is way too likely to go sour.

If they had a shot-gun clause in their agreement, this would be a simple matter of one party or the other buying full rights and continuing on with the project, no legal system and multi-year drawn out court battles designed to put all the money in lawyers pockets. The issue would be resolved in a matter of days and both parties would essentially be happy.

Re:Its called a shot-gun clause... (2, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#30273196)

If they had a shot-gun clause in their agreement, this would be a simple matter of one party or the other buying full rights and continuing on with the project, no legal system and multi-year drawn out court battles designed to put all the money in lawyers pockets.

Only if both sides have roughly the same financial resources. Otherwise the poor guy can't possibly buy out the rich guy, so the rich guy has a huge advantage... I get the feeling, in this situation, the other guys have a lot more resources.

Re:Its called a shot-gun clause... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30273356)

Also such an outcome is predicated on the assumption both parties are out for financial gain. By Arrington's admission, money wasn't his goal.

Re:Its called a shot-gun clause... (1)

IpSo_ (21711) | more than 4 years ago | (#30273502)

So? The "rich" guy needs to make the "poor" guy a reasonable offer, because as per the shot-gun clause any offer that is made first can be countered by the other party at the exact same price. So if the "rich" guy tries to lowball the "poor" guy, it could easily come back to bite him.

It basically comes down to this, if the "poor" guy can't get his hands on enough capital to meet the original shot-gun clause offer, likely the project isn't worth it to begin with, but at least he gets to walk away with some cash, likely more money then he or any outside investors think the project is worth.

Given the alternative, the "poor" guy couldn't afford any court costs anyways and would be likely to lose everything PLUS lawyer costs if it ever went to court, so with a shot-gun clause in tact he at least has the option to raise more capital, or he gets bought out for a reasonable amount.

You can't get a more fair system then the shot-gun clause, and one party being "rich" and the other being "poor" makes virtually no difference either.

Re:Its called a shot-gun clause... (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 4 years ago | (#30274450)

I've actually seen one of these clauses invoked in a local business here. The hostile buyout offer was submitted and the guy responding gladly took the terms of the offer, as opportunity to buy out the originator.

The problem was, the originator of the offer tried to change his mind on the deal, and tried to renegotiate the buy/sell price and sued, to raise the price.

While the suit was in court, proceeded to try to destroy the business and all the various partnerships that were built up over the course. About halfway through the courts, the second guy realizing the sabotage was starting to work, accepted the "re-negotiated" price, in court.

That is when the first guy accused the second guy of sabotaging the business and rejected the price, and resorted back to a new lower than original price, whereby the second guy promptly agreed to buy at that price.

The courts, seeing through the scam at that point sealed the deal at the new lower price, and called the lawyers to draw up the papers at that price.

It was hell for my friend at the time, but it is kind of funny now. The asshole screwed himself, in what we now refer to as "autoanalcoitus".

He can talk the talk (4, Insightful)

mrgreenfur (685860) | more than 4 years ago | (#30272924)

He lampoons startups every day and finally tries something on his own and realizes it's harder said than done, what a surprise. This guy is a dick and always has been; it's kinda nice to hear he's having trouble!

Re:He can talk the talk (2, Funny)

uvajed_ekil (914487) | more than 4 years ago | (#30273350)

Oh come one now, this is the guy who brought us the _______________, which at only $________ is super amazing, because it can __________ and __________, and is far superior to its top competitor, the ____________.


*The above sentence is to be completed at some point in the future, if and when it ever becomes applicable.*

If you assume, you make an ASS out of U and ME (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30273002)

FTA: It was about the thrill of building something with a team that had the same vision.

Obviously, Arrington assumed too much about his partner who, along with the partner's shareholders, had a different vision.

Silly Americans (1)

J4 (449) | more than 4 years ago | (#30273126)

At least the company _let_him_know_ they were gonna cut him out.
There is nothing stopping them from going ahead with production and marketing.
As in the music business: if there's a profit, then there's a problem.
If the lawyers can't feed it's moot.

this is called "out-sourcing" (1)

cnkurzke (920042) | more than 4 years ago | (#30273198)

In other news:
Somewhere in an asian bazaar you can now buy the first version of a $299 "CrumblePad" in either pink, lime green or yellow.

Large volume container shipping will begin in January, and the "Disneay" branded child friendly version with preloaded pirated Disney movies dubbed to chinese is in the works.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...