TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington issues ultimatum to AOL
Michael Arrington is slated to be in San Francisco next week for TechCrunch's Disrupt conference.
Disrupting is certainly an art that Arrington has mastered. And now he's giving his AOL overlords (and Arianna Huffington) the Imax version.
His ultimatum on Monday: that AOL restore editorial independence to the popular tech blog or sell TechCrunch back to Arrington, the newly minted venture capitalist (who apparently would need funding to buy it; might we suggest the CrunchFund). If not, Arrington says he'll quit (the job he was already ousted from).
TechCrunch's MG Siegler says that TechCrunch may formally dump Arrington on Monday. "TechCrunch is on the precipice," he wrote in a blog post on -- where else -- TechCrunch. All Things D's Kara Swisher, who has a sweet spot for the blogger she has dubbed Yertle, says Arrington is lobbying AOL Chief Executive Tim Armstrong (who famously told the New York Times that TechCrunch has different journalistic standards than the rest of AOL's media properties) to sell him back TechCrunch.
Arrington could not be reached for comment. Usually desperate for attention, AOL has clammed up even as this public relations nightmare marches into its second week with a fresh head of steam.
A recap: Last week Huffington bounced Arrington from TechCrunch after he and her boss, Armstrong, unveiled plans to launch a venture fund with a high-profile group of Silicon Valley investors, a move that Gawker calls hypocritical because Huffington has closed her eyes to other conflicts of interest.
Arrington and other TechCrunch writers are protesting; they say AOL promised TechCrunch editorial independence. AOL bought TechCrunch a year ago for $30 million.
On Monday, Arrington said he had just one magnet on his refrigerator: "No drama." (If not drama, perhaps comedy?)
"So," he deadpanned on Facebook, "don't say I didn't try."
Now all the tech world can do is wait for AOL's next move. And pass the popcorn.
-- Jessica Guynn
Photo: Michael Arrington in 2008. Credit: Randi Lynn Beach / For The Times