Monthly Archives: January 2009

Tech Blogging Not a Contact Sport

Much has been written about the supposedly scabrous nature of technology blogs, bloggers, and those who read them.

Personally, I think it’s a lot of overheated sensationalism. Blogging, like any media, is just an interactive conduit to an audience. The audience that a blogger chooses to serve, and the message he or she chooses to impart to that audience, will largely determine the sort of dynamic that will result.

If a blogger calibrates his content for a broad audience, it is reasonable to expect that he will get a wide spectrum of readers, including a few who might be unbalanced. Similarly, if the tone of the blog is exuberant and rollicking, one can expect a similarly rambunctious following to accrue.

Some deranged individual spat on Michael Arrington of TechCrunch. In no way am I suggesting that Arrington deserved such a fate. What I am willing to suggest is that Arrington sought fame, fortune, and controversy. He took provocative positions on startup companies and Web 2.0 culture, and he did so with the clear intent of stirring the pot, of creating a loud and insistent buzz.

Even so, the vast majority of his readership is sane. By and large, it is not composed of lunatics, though it does attract a passionate and sometimes verbally abusive element.

Like newspapers and the old media that came before it, blogs attract a wide range of audiences. The New Post and the New York Times have different readerships, just as People and the New Yorker have different readerships. The same holds true for blogs. Each one is a reflection, to a degree, of the person or persons who created it.

There isn’t a anything inherent about blogging and blogs that makes them any more volatile than their media forebears.


Litigation Grudge Match: Bain Capital Versus 3Com

Earlier this past week, Bloomberg reported on the messy litigation in Delaware Chancery Court between 3Com and its former suitor, Bain Capital LLC.

3Com wants a disputed $66 million breakup fee that it says Bain is obligated to pay. For its part, Bain argues that 3Com waived its right to the fee.

This all goes back to the the Bain acquisition bid for 3Com stretching back more than a year ago.

A minority partner in that acquisition bid was Huawei Technologies, a Chinese networking-equipment heavyweight with close ties to that country’s government. US government officials eventually forced the dealmakers to back away from the table, citing concerns about China’s potential access to intrusion-prevention and -detection technologies resident in TippingPoint, a 3Com-owned security company.

Anyway, the law is one thing and ethics are something else entirely. Bain probably didn’t think the US government would discourage the deal from going through, and one could argue that Bain should not be held liable for the government intercession.

That said, I find it difficult to believe that 3Com would have waived the breakup fee. When it became apparent that the deal would go down in flames, 3Com’s board and executives must have recognized that the breakup fee would be the only thing they could salvage for disaffected shareholders.