TechCrunch may be famous for running stories of dubious reliability, but this one is for sure. AOL has acquired the blogging network that covers sites like TechCrunch proper, Mobile Crunch, and Crunch Base. Much as they did with the acquisition of Weblogs Inc., AOL looks to be taking a hands-off approach to the TechCrunch network. "TechCrunch and its associated properties and conferences will join the AOL Technology Network while retaining their editorial independence..." said AOL in the press release.
No one is talking directly about price, but many have been floating numbers in the tens of millions. Some estimates go as high as $75 million. It is unclear if TechCrunch founder Mike Arrington will stay or go, but most observers are betting on 'go". After all, it's a pretty big payday. TechCrunch writers will reportedly split a small amount of stock, which will make for a nice bit of walking around money too.
AOL has been busily transforming into a content company over the last few years, and this is just one more example of that process. Having Engadget and TechCrunch under one roof makes AOL a real force online.
Most of us are unlikely to invent anything in our lifetimes, let alone in 24 hours. But that was the goal for droves of eager hackers at TechCrunch’s Hack Day, a 24-hour hackathon prefacing the TechCrunch Disrupt convention this week in New York.
Hunched over glowing laptops, scattered papers, and energy drinks, more than 300 contenders turned nascent plans into working inventions. Three lucky teams will be going on to Disrupt to present their winning projects.
Some teams had solid blueprints to work through the night; some brought vague ideas they hoped to flesh out along the way; and others came simply to absorb and contribute to the creative energy. In the end, 60 teams pitched their products. Here are our top ten builds that truly impressed.
Tablets have traditionally been a jinxed lot. Therefore, it should not surprise anybody when another bites, or threatens to bite, the dust. Anyways, Fusion Garage surely must have embarked on its thrilling journey to break this jinx with a lot of hope.
But its dream of making a real dent in the tablet market had only yielded 90 pre-orders until mid-February, according to financial information Paypal shared for the sake of the ongoing TechCrunch Lawsuit. FG began accepting pre-orders for the JooJoo on December 11, 2009. The document further reveals that 15 of those orders stand canceled and have been refunded.
The abysmal lack of response perfectly explains the many delays that plagued the device, which was supposed to debut late last month but kept getting delayed. It is still not clear whether those first to order it have begun receiving their JooJoo's or not – pre-orders were supposed to begin shipping Monday, March 29. No, we don't know where you can pre-order your favorite soon-to-be-bankrupt companies.
There’s good news, and there’s good news in the latest leaked figures on Kindle ownership. While Amazon is a bit tight-lipped on the subject, with Jeff Bezos only admitting to “millions of people” owning Kindles, TechCrunch is reporting the number of those millions to be three.
Michael Arrington, who’s checked with this “amazingly accurate” sources, reports that the three million number was hit sometime in December, before the release of the global Kindle, and Amazon’s “free” Kindle offer.
Why double-good news? First, because this gives Amazon a distinct early market presence, which can have a snowball effect. (If all you see are Kindles, why by a Nook?) Second, because Amazon might well need this presence to weather the introduction Apple’s iPad into the market. For no other reason than its cachet value, the iPad will sell, and when the initial frenzy is over Kindle has a good chance of still being there.
Arrington’s lawsuit claims “Fraud and Deceit, Misappropriation of Business Ideas, Breach of Fiduciary Duty, Unfair Competition and Violations of the Lanham Act.” The suit seeks both damages and an injunction against Fusion Garage’s marketing the JooJoo, which Arrington says is built on intellectual property that is part his.
Arrington also offers potential JooJoo pre-buyers a warning: Fusion Garage is broke, so any payments you make for a JooJoo will probably be used to defend the lawsuit, not produce you a nifty tablet computer. So beware...beware!
And, as a parting shot, the bio for Rathakrishnan at CrunchBase has been changed to add: “Chanda is also a patent holder in the area of operating systems, possibly for the custom OS that can be found on Fusion Garage’s soon-to-be failure of a tablet named the JooJoo.”
The quick-and-dirty of the tale is this: Michael Arrington of TechCrunch announced the death of the CrunchPad on November 30. He related the cause of death to be Rathakrishnan and unnamed investors who decided they would be better off without Arrington’s participation. In Arrington’s view he’s part owner of the intellectual property behind the CrunchPad, so without some agreement on terms Fusion Garage wouldn’t have a product to sell.
Rathakrishnan struck back today. Not only is Fusion Garage prepared to produce and sell the 12.1-inch web tablet, it is planning to do so this week. Rathakrishnan also clarified the cause of the TechCrunch-Fusion Garage break-up to be Arrington, who Rathakrishnan says “was completely unable to deliver.”
The background probably isn’t as important as the product itself. Details are limited, but the JooJoo will have a 12.1-inch touchscreen, Wi-Fi, ebook capability, the ability to deliver full HD video, and, according to Rathakrishnan, “the fastest bootup sequence out there.” It will also cost $499, more than double what Arrington had projected.
Whether the JooJoo will see the light of day is another matter. Come Friday we’ll have a better idea on where this little saga goes next.
According to Arrington, the CEO of Arrington’s partner, Chandra Rathakrishnan, told him, by email, three days before the CrunchPad’s coming out party, that his investors were pulling out their support, and that Arrington and his crew would no longer be associated with the project. The project itself wasn’t necessarily dead, but in a Machiavellian move by Rathakrishnan, it would be turned over to Fusion Garage, the group that has been working with Arrington on the latest revision, Prototype C, of the CrunchPad.
What happens next in the saga is unclear. Arrington, who is “completely perplexed as to what happened,” maintains the project “self destructed over nothing more than greed, jealousy and miscommunication.” And that the “legal system will work it all out over time.” This suggests that further development on the CrunchPad, in whatever reincarnation, will be on hold for some time to come.
Ahh, TechCrunch50 time. For those outside of the Valley, otherwise known as "The Know," this is the time of year when legions of startups (47) descend onto a common stage under the TechCrunch banner, all eager to pitch their next, greatest idea to a field of hungry judges and enthusiastic audience members.
Every time this happens--or every time any show similar to the TechCrunch50 goes down--I always look forward to the new batch of oddly named Web applications that I'll probably never hear about again, let alone actually use. For this, I have but one source to blame: open data. Just because there's an API or the free-flow of information outward from a single popular source doesn't mean that one always has to make a spin-off project. But if you build it, they will indeed come. The developers, that is, and they're always looking to cash in on the next big variation to an already successful idea.
I'm not exactly sure why this is the case with Web applications and why it's not always mirrored in open-source or freeware software development. What is it about a Web platform that makes it such an intriguing breeding ground for rip-offery? Is it really that easy to create a Web mashup of two social networks instead of pouring the same amount of effort into, say, a new instant messaging application?
We've been hearing about TechCrunch's CrunchPad for a year now, and according to The New York Times, the sexy looking tablet will soon become a reality at an affordable point.
Michael Arrington, founder of TechCrunch, apparently plans to hold an event at the end of July or beginning of August to make an announcement about the CrunchPad. Arrington also promised that it would be for sale "as soon as possible."
Barring any last minute changes, the CrunchPad's sole puprose will be to surf the Web. As soon as you turn it on, a Web browser pops up. The tablet will not come with a hard drive or keyboard, although Arrington said users can plug in a keyboard if they wanted to. Intel's Atom processor will run the "Internet consumption device."
Arrington said the CrunchPad will cost less than $300.
Michael Arrington of Tech Crunch had a chance to talk to Marissa Mayer, Vice President of Search Product and User Experience at Google, about her “search is 90-95% solved” story in the LA times.
Mayer said in the original article that “Search is an unsolved problem. We have a good 90 to 95% of the solution, but there is a lot to go in the remaining 10%”. Mayer also alluded that Google still has some mountains to climb before its search has fully adapted to the internet and its growing trends, such as embedded video, maps, and electronic books. Arrington agrees that internet search is still “in its infancy.”
Mayer ended the conversation with saying that the ideal search engine is the user’s “best friend”; it should tailor answers to you based on preference and existing knowledge, and ask, “What do you want?” Hopefully, this is an indication of what’s to come to the Google search engine.