CrunchPad's Arrington responds to the JooJoo

Today is the day that Fusion Garage starts taking pre-orders for its JooJoo Pad. Today is also the day that Michael Arrington fired his next salvo at Fusion Garage. Arrington has been uncharacteristically quiet as Chandra Rathakrishnan has been making the rounds showing off the JooJoo to the press.

Arrington's post includes a copy of the lawsuit he is filing and he has also made it available for viewing here. I'm not normally one to enjoy a casual read of a lawsuit but this one is fascinating. Skip to page 4, starting with item 11, and read the story of the CrunchPad, as told by Arrington, of course.

At this point I don't know what to think. Everytime I get close to pretty much accepting Arrington's story at face value, he pulls something that makes me stop and reexamine his arguments. For instance, in his The End Of The CrunchPad he says of Rathakrishnan, "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." In today's post he says:

The founder of Fusion Garage, Chandrasekar Rathakrishnan, isn’t a good guy. He has been caught plagiarizing articles. His previous company Radixs disintegrated in shareholder disputes and angry employees. We didn’t learn about this until last Summer because Singapore media, including blogs, are largely controlled by the government...

The quote goes on, but the point is if Arrington learned about this last summer, why was he saying Rathakrishnan was worthy of admiration in November?

Arrington also calls out the press in another bullet point:

Fusion Garage’s financial situation is a mess, and it is inappropriate for press to recommend to people to pre-buy a CrunchPad. The company has not yet hired an attorney to respond to our lawsuit. We believe they do not have the cash flow to do so. When the device goes on pre sales today, linked to from scores of gadget and press sites, they will suddenly have cash flow to defend themselves. What they won’t have is cash flow to build the devices. We believe it is irresponsible for press to link to the pre-sale site without disclosing this to readers. [emphasis his]

This attempt to directly sway the press away from Fusion Garage really spikes my suspicion meter. After all, Arrington is the press. If I started writing screeds advising him on what he should or should not say about a product, what would he think? I suggest he'd think I was just doing everything I could to further my agenda. If you're telling the truth, Arrington, you don't need an agenda; you just need the facts.

On the other hand, I don't actually disagree with him. The whole situation stinks and the JooJoo is way too expensive anyway. Pre-ordering an over-priced item like this from a company who is embroiled in this kind of controversy seems risky, to put things mildly. But I don't need Arrington to tell me that, and neither do you.

That said, Fusion Garage did yank down their blog, which makes them look guilty as sin. And they did register before word of the end of the CrunchPad hit the net. Unless Arrington sat on his story in order to make Fusion Garage look bad. Hmmm.

You know what? Let's let the lawyers sort this out. I'm looking forward to eventually learning the full truth behind what happened to cause this mess. In the meanwhile, I'll go back to waiting for an affordable tablet to use while laying on the couch. If nothing else, I have the iTablet to look forward to!

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