CrunchPad: Fusion Garage tries to force their way through
December 08th, 2009 - 11:10 am ET by C. D.
Despite Michael Arrington being sure that Fusion Garage doesn’t have the right to sell their CrunchPad tablet under another name, and without him, the company has nevertheless announced that the tablet is will now available under the name JooJoo from next week.
The CrunchPad affair is certainly a strange one, with the project being launched by the site TechCrunch and its founder Michael Arrington. The initial aim was to design a tactile tablet adapted to Internet surfing, and sold for an affordable price.
After numerous changes and a slight increase in price, almost everything was ready for launch. Almost, as at the last moment Fusion Garage, a young Californian company in partnership with TechCrunch - and who had participated in the conceptualisation of the tablet, decided to go around Michael Arrington to launch the device under the own brand while only recognising its creator as its inspiration.
Quickly it was explained that the intellectual property surrounding the tablet was logically jointly held, which means that Fusion Garage couldn’t sell it without the agreement of the other party, with legal action being taken if done so.
And here comes the future CrunchP.. um; the JooJoo This scenario was confirmed on the 4th of December in a release by Michael Arrington, in which a published email clearly indicates that he will sue Fusion Garage if they decide to launch the tablet PC by themselves.
Except that... the founder of Fusion Garage, Chandra Rathakrishnan, has announced the imminent release of the JooJoo, which is none other then the CrunchPad renamed. According to him, Fusion Garage holds all intellectual property rights and release rights linked to the project.
He has promised a pre-release date of the 11th of December for a price of... 499 dollars, which is no longer comparable to the initial project aim of providing a PC for 100 dollars, nor the 300 dollars decided upon for the final version. If ordered during the pre-release window, delivery of the device will be in about 10 weeks.
So what of the CrunchPad project? The initial idea was to have a super competitive price: even if it meant compromising on other aspects, the price had to remain competitive. In the end, the JooJoo comes in at a price very similar to other products (or other product categories) on the market. Without taking into account the malicious circumstances of its birth, there is a good chance the released product may come to a quick end. If this is the case, it may prove to be a double failure.