Thursday, December 10, 2009

JooJoo karma - or African magic?

While Florida basks in the controversy of "transgressions" of feline proportions, Silicon Valley, not to be outdone, has launched an infidelity of its own: TechCrunch (TC) and Fusion Garage (FG) are no longer BFF - the much-heralded CrunchPad went poof before CrunchTime, and emerged as the magical JooJoo.

"And I’ve also lost a friend – Chandra spent months in our office this year and, until a week and a half ago, was the kind of young, determined entrepreneur that I admire. I thought we’d be friends for the rest of our lives."
Losing a "friend" over a startup in Silicon Valley?! Been there....done that! (story worth 2 margaritas :-))... but back to the JooJoo ...

TechCrunchies who drooled when they first heard about the CrunchPad, and many of the tech-blogger friends of TechCrunch, are now shunning it! Many are taking sides in the dispute, and while that's anyone's prerogative, it's really for the legal system to determine the outcome - as "litigation is imminent". FG's position - that there was no IP contribution from the TC team - is a reversal of the TC story. Was there an agreement in place? Birthday cake loosey-goosey? A contract in writing? If not, why not? Unknown but critical. TC is a popular tech blog, wields enormous influence, and can easily use their brand to skew perception (as we've seen with the about-turn-Crunchfans). While TC was easy with exposing unethically obtained Twitter documents, they seem quite selective in what they publish in this case.

Anyway, this last minute change in "ownership" does not magically make the product bad! Overnight!!

Expensive? Maybe! - it will cost $500 instead of $300. Did folks really believe that something that's as "slick" and possibly more powerful and general purpose than an iPhone, with a huge touch screen, would really be priced at $300? Seems like the only way that would happen is if heavily subsidized (2 year wireless contract with free TC subscription? :-)). Just blogging that something's going to cost X does not make it happen. Maybe the $300 price was a promise that could not be kept.

Assuming TC wasn't jilted at the altar by FG, let's talk about the possible runaway success of the CrunchPad - would TC really be able to compete with an Apple tablet, even if it did turn out to be more expensive, as reported? Writing tech blogs and competing with Apple are very different things...

Some folks think TC is lucky since it got out of a bad situation with FG. TC may indeed be lucky, not because of the rift with FG, but possibly that they don't have look embarrassed by Apple in 4 months by an $800 or $1000 iPad. That's not considering the Nook, Android Netbooks, ChromeOS, Sony Readers, etc.

And ... irony of ironies ... the head of the TechCrunch Crunchpad team is Brian Kindle!
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