FusionGarage CEO Blasts Arrington Over CrunchPad Comments


Claiming that TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington was "completely unable to deliver" on promises to help market a $200 tablet PC dubbed the CrunchPad, the CEO of the Singapore-based company that built the device fired back at Arrington Monday over the latter's late-November blog post that claimed the device would never be made.

Chandrasekhar Rathakrishnan, CEO of FusionGarage, denied Arrington's claims that TechCrunch and its TechPad subsidiary were joint owners of the device -- which FusionGarage is now calling the JooJoo -- in any way, shape or form.

"No contracts of any kind between FusionGarage and TechCrunch" existed, according to Rathakrishnan, who held an online press conference Monday to respond to Arrington's Nov. 30 TechCrunch blog post.

"Michael has a flair for dramatics. There's no suit or legal case that's been filed today. Even if one were filed, we are very confident in our position. We own all of the [intellectual property]," Rathakrishnan said.

"The suggestion that Michael, TechCrunch or TechPad owns any IP to do with the product is ludicrous. TechCrunch didn't contribute a single line of code on the OS."

Arrington claimed late last month that it was "legally impossible" for FusionGarage to build and sell the device due to TechCrunch's stake in the project. But Rathakrishnan contended that though he and Arrington had informally discussed a TechCrunch acquisition of FusionGarage, "nothing tangible came out of those talks."

"In my mind, pictures of a birthday cake do not a final product make," Rathakrishnan said, referring to pictures of CrunchPad prototypes that had appeared on TechCrunch at various times from the start of the project in mid-2008.

"It was clear that Michael wasn't able to deliver. There's talk and then there's action," he added. "We developed the hardware platform on our own. We solved the technical issues. We worked with OEMs to bring the product to market and we were ultimately successful."

Now FusionGarage plans to make the JooJoo available for $499 on Dec. 11, Rathakrishnan said. The price tag for the 12.1-inch Web-surfing device is a far cry from the $200 for a "dead simple tablet" that Arrington originally proposed.

Rathakrishnan claimed the new price tag was yet another poor reflection on Arrington's judgment.

"There are dreams and there are hallucinations. Unfortunately Arrington's dream of a $200 tablet or even a $300 price for a device of this nature was as unrealistic as his claims to owning any IP associated with it," Rathakrishnan said.

Rathakrishnan seemed to take particular exception to Arrington's more personal claims, such as his contention that the partnership "self-destructed over nothing more than greed, jealousy and miscommunication" on the part of FusionGarage.

"I know what I'm not. I'm not the person portrayed in the blogosphere," Rathakrishnan said. "Anybody can cut and paste e-mails and anybody can write blog posts. There are dreamers and there are doers. FusionGarage is the only doer in this story."