updated 05:40 pm EST, Sun December 18, 2011
Further clues exist of Fusion Garage exit
More signs that Fusion Garage may be shutting down emerged Sunday. Michael Arrington, founder and former employee of TechCrunch, noted that law firm Quinn Emmanuel had formally requested last week that it withdraw as the defense against AOL's lawsuit for alleged fraud over what ultimately became the JooJoo tablet. Singapore-based Fusion Garage hadn't been paying for services for "several months," according to the request, and there had been a "breakdown in communication" that made any reconciliation difficult.
What those entailed wasn't fully apparent, although Quinn Emmanuel was prepared to outline just what had gone wrong in communications if the court asked. An attorney said he had warned Fusion Garage on "numerous occasions" since November 25 that the law firm would quit the case.
Fusion Garage hasn't responded to the move or to earlier complaints about lacking shipments, refunds, or even PR representation. FusionGarage.com has returned at least temporarily, but TheJooJoo.com has lapsed, however.
The weeks-long silence and unfulfilled orders have led to concerns that Fusion Garage has either gone into a temporary shutdown or else has cut and run, closing the business without compensating customers or even its business partners. Much of the company's history has been questionable, as it decided just before the JooJoo launch to cut off any partnership with Arrington and TechCrunch. The tablet builder risked more legal action after it failed to post legally required source code for the JooJoo's Linux-based OS until January this year.
Even outside of the legal realm, the company has tried unusual tactics, such as its launch for the Grid 4 and Grid 10. Fusion Garage drummed up interest under the TabCo pseudonym and held a "press conference" where the company presented to an empty room and used camera tricks along with fake crowd sounds to mimic an Apple-style keynote. Ostensibly, the campaign was meant to help shake Fusion Garage's early image and renew interest; critics saw it as just an attempt to make the company seem larger than it was.