updated 05:55 pm EDT, Wed September 15, 2010
TechCrunch says Fusion Garage conspired to leave
TechCrunch today said it had found evidence that Fusion Garage's decision to break its partnership for the CrunchPad and sell it as the Joojoo was a deliberate "conspiracy" to exploit its partner's work. Michael Arrington pointed to e-mail that allegedly showed the company working with its PR firm McGrath Power to engineer the reasons for taking the Linux tablet out of its creator's control. Among the evidence given, Fusion Garage purportedly faked investor messages citing business plans and had employees who would aware they would "really sucker these people" at the website, although the latter might refer to Pegatron and not TechCrunch.
Fusion Garage supposedly carefully engineered its message, and the promo video CEO Chandrasekhar Rathakrishnan used to defend the split was originally phrased in a way that made it sound like his company simply took Arrington's idea for a web-only tablet and gave it a new name. The site author has long maintained that the work was fairly divided between the two, while Fusion Garage has cited quotes from Arrington blog posts as evidence that it did the majority of the work.
The judge presiding over the case recently denied a ban on Joojoo sales but also said there was enough concern that Fusion Garage had broken its financial obligations to TechCrunch by ending the partnership without a more formal split or paying compensation.
While the two companies are well known as having been in a partnership, concerns have existed over whether or not Arrington and his company put enough of the terms into writing to legally bind Fusion Garage to the CrunchPad/Joojoo project. It was originally conceived in a news post as a way of proving that web apps could lead to extremely low-priced computers and wasn't conceived from the start with Fusion Garage in mind.