Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Michael Robertson--Still Hiding Details About Linspire's Demise

Five Months And Counting--What Happened to Linspire?

It's been five months since Michael Robertson sold off Linspire in a secret back-room deal with Xandros, and yet, the 100 some-odd minority shareholders haven't received any details about this transaction. Robertson has time to file frivolous lawsuits against me to try and take away my freedom of speech, but he doesn't have time to talk to all those shareholders who have lost thousands and thousands of dollars on worthless Linspire stock.

Is there anyone who can be left with doubt as to Robertson's attitude toward employees, investors and shareholders?

Michael Robertson--No Respect for Investors and Shareholders

The lawsuit against Robertson over the missing cash continues, but for Linspire shareholders, we remain completely in the dark.

What is Robertson hiding? Incompetence? Greed? Theft? All three? After five months, if he had a reasonable story to tell shareholders, wouldn't he have done that by now?

By my calculation, Linspire blew through around $35 Million and left absolutely nothing to show for it. Perhaps Robertson is just embarrassed by his colossal failure with Linspire. I netted a profit during my two years as Linspire's CEO, and there were millions in the bank when I left, yet in one quick year it's all gone.

Linspire, SIPphone, MP3tunes, AJAXwindows, not exactly an impressive track record. I can see why Michael prefers to keep in hiding.



Anonymous said...

1 in 10 startups fail, right? He had a success with MP3.com. He had some previous failures with filez.com and calendarz.com etc. They were pretty weak PHP based file download and calendaring sites anyway. Then he had a big hit with MP3.com. That business ultimately failed also but made it farther than most and made him a ton of money (some argue most of that money should have gone to the employees who built the place). Now he's had a few more failures. I'd say that is par for the course. If he keeps trying he will eventually hit it big again provided he hasn't acquired too much negative karma. He has the advantage of experience.

Kevin Carmony said...

MP3.com was a failure from an income and investment stand point. Taking a company public at around $28 per share and then selling it at around $5 per share is hardly what I'd call a success story. Gee, a 5-year old can do that.

Question: How do you start a small business?

Answer: Start with a big one, let Micheal Robertson run it, then wait a year.

My main objection to Robertson is not that he's an incompetent businessman, but that he is a lousy human being, given how I've witnessed him treat employees, investors, shareholders, customers, and partners. My main point with this blog was that it's been FIVE MONTHS since he sold Linspire and STILL hasn't shared any details with the 100 some-odd shareholders. That, in my opinion, is indefensible.


smoore said...

Negative Karma? I don't think Robertson can live long enough to pay back all the bad Karma he's racked up. From treating artists like crap at MP3.com, to running as root at Linspire, to dumping on his employees, to hosing his investors and shareholders.

steelrange said...

As a Linspire shareholder who spent good hard cash to exercise my stock options, I agree there is no excuse for the way Michael has treated us. It was bad enough we had to put up with his rants and abuse while working for him, but this is now the final insult to our injury.


Thanks for keeping us informed Kevin. You seem to be the only source of information for shareholders.

Cody Brocious said...

So very thankful I never exercised my options.

Thank you for shining light on the black box MR has produced. So many good people have been shafted in this whole ordeal (not to even mention 'tunes and the others), they deserve the truth and you're the only one giving it. Keep up the good work.

Kevin Carmony said...

Thanks Cody.

I think when I and the other execs left Linspire, not everyone at tunes and the other companies knew fully just what happened, as I'm sure Michael was there with his picture of Kool-aid. Unfortunately, from what I hear, they're also learning first hand what he's really like.

Yes, so many good people over the years at MP3.com, Linspire, MP3tunes, SIPphone, etc., and yet... =(


Cody Brocious said...

Indeed they are. After seeing the way Warner was treated in the AnywhereCD debacle, I saw the writing on the wall and got out, but I didn't learn just how bad things were. It took me talking to a lot of people to figure out how far down the rabbit hole goes, and I'm sure it doesn't even scratch the surface on the information you've seen.

Kevin Carmony said...

Yes, Robertson doesn't understand the concept of "partnership," or "relationship," or creating the win/win. His ego is so big, he assumes all that is needed is him and his money. He doesn't get you need other people to make it in this world. This always causes him to overplay his hand with others, thinking only of himself. It's no way to run a business, let alone lead your life.


Cody Brocious said...

I agree entirely. If you abuse your partners, how can you possibly be upset when they (and -- inevitably -- others) no longer want to work with you? The sad part is that I think that was a fantastic deal, and I think that everyone who invested in that company (whether monetarily or with their time) lost out when he killed it.

It's these sorts of actions that don't even lead me to question why he's not willing to talk about Linspire to the shareholders. He's a snake in the grass, and everyone (even his remaining employees, from the ones I've talked to) is able to see it these days. Good riddance, I just wish so many good people hadn't been dragged down with him.

Kevin Carmony said...

That's why I think it's important that I use my blog to try and keep people informed as to what the facts are. Prospective employees, partners, investors, shareholders, etc. should know the facts and what they're getting themselves into.

It's too late for me to unwind the damage of having worked with Robertson, but perhaps others will benefit from listening to those who have had the "Robertson experience."


Cody Brocious said...

It's very, very important and I think you have the support of everyone who's been burnt by MR directly or indirectly. His attempts to silence you only make it more important, in my opinion. I'm glad someone is willing to stand up and tell him you can't treat people this way without facing consequences.

Kevin Carmony said...

Because Robertson has money and a well-known reputation for lawsuits, most don't want to stand up to him. I'm certainly willing to tell the truth, and I'm proud of those who take the same risk.

Robertson's ridiculous lawsuit over "Freespire" (www.freespire.com) is evidence to the lengths he'll go to try and keep me from sharing the truth. The lawsuit is completely unfounded and designed solely to try and intimidate me into silence. (Linspire has never owned a trademark for "freespire" and they didn't even have a trademark filing pending when I launched Freespire.com. Robertson's motives are very transparent.)

I plan on using Freespire.com as a portal to the truth about Robertson. It's an appropriate name, as I "aspire" to keep "free"dome of speech alive about Robertson.