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The curious case of the CrunchPad collapse

It looks as though my early skepticism about the CrunchPad has been validated. The device has been declared dead due to some bizarre wrangling over intellectual property and freezing out a partner.

Michael Arrington describes Fusion Garage’s gall in trying to sell the CrunchPad without his involvement:

This is the equivalent of Foxconn, who build the iPhone, notifiying (sic) Apple a couple of days before launch that they’d be moving ahead and selling the iPhone directly without any involvement from Apple.

Yet, three paragraphs later, he admits, “Neither we nor Fusion Garage own the intellectual property of the CrunchPad outright.”

I can assure you that there is no confusion at Foxconn about who owns the intellectual property behind the iPhone.

That’s not the only strange paradox. Arrington downplays the financial aspects of the CrunchPad, saying he never expected it to be “a huge business” and that it wasn’t “really about money.”. But he had hired accomplished Silicon Valley talent that had assembled a team, and was clearly cavorting with some big potential partners. These included Intel, possibly Google, and an unnamed national electronics retailer that sounds like it might offer consumers a buy that is best.

Even contracts that are thought to be ironclad are challenged. But the most surprising part is that Arrington, an attorney by trade, would be so careless as to leave so much of the IP in a gray area as to produce the squabbles that took down the CrunchPad — and yet so determined to file lawsuits regarding a product that will never ship and was not expected to drive much revenue. I’m certainly no attorney, but any episode of Judge Judy will teach you in a hurry to make sure you iron out details of any business relationship.

If this is such a dream, why no just find another design and manufacturing partner? There are plenty out there that create products instead of drama.