Time Warner's AOL and TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington have been talking for the past two months, with AOL offering Arrington $20 million to $30 million to acquire tech's most dutiful clearinghouse for startup PR. Kara Swisher says that TechCrunch wants more than $30 million; we've heard he's looking for more like $100 million. Arrington has perpetually shopped his site around; all this deal talk reminds us how, just the other weekend, we overhead him wishing he could just sell out and move to Hawaii. Which makes for a nice pipe dream, but a weak negotiating position. Another reason to be skeptical: This is not Arrington's first flirtation with Time Warner.
Adam Dell, Michael Dell's younger brother, is a venture capitalist with some successes under his belt, including HotJobs, which Yahoo bought. He'd make a fine Yahoo board member. So why does Carl Icahn feel it necessary to inflate his qualifications? Dell's biography, as supplied by Icahn, claims that Dell "is a contributing columnist to the technology publication, Business 2.0." Not since 2001, in fact, and the magazine itself closed last year.
Josh Quittner, former editor of the defunct Business 2.0, has extricated himself from his unhappy stay at Fortune by returning to Time, where he previously worked. Tellingly, Time editor Rick Stengel refers to him as a "writer" for Fortune, though he had the ostensible title of executive editor. Stengel's memo is included below. Quittner's new gig is his old gig, covering consumer technology, which takes him back roughly 13 years in the progress of his career. Funny, because we'd heard that Quittner had held serious talks with Michael Arrington about joining TechCrunch, around the same time he wrote a laudatory column about the tech blogger. All that puffery, and no job in exchange? A shame.
Josh Quittner, the Fortune executive editor who's reportedly plotting his escape from his gilded cage at the magazine, has written a perfunctory profile of TechCrunch blog impresario Michael Arrington. Nothing we haven't read before — including the obligatory paragraph about Arrington's conflicts of interest in writing about startups even as he invests in them. Quittner observes that the practice seems to boost Arrington's reputation in the Valley. One conflict Quittner never mentions: As editor of Business 2.0, where I worked for him, he tried to strike a deal with Arrington to save the magazine by merging it with TechCrunch. The effort failed, landing Quittner at Fortune.
What is Josh Quittner, the former editor of Business 2.0, doing for his next act? Since September, he's had an unhappy career at Fortune, the Time Inc.-owned corporate sibling which took him and a few other refugees from the magazine in. He's been earning what we hear is a mid-six-figures salary playing Scrabulous, and then writing about it. (Actual quote from a recent column: "Clearly, I had too much time on my hands.") The latest I'd heard on Quittner, my former boss, was that he was leaving Fortune to return to Time, where he worked before joining Business 2.0, as its Marin County-based tech correspondent. But he may have another exit strategy in mind. in 2006, Quittner registered roofmagazine.com.
When Viacom sued Google for $1 billion, it put a pretty big price tag on the value of distributing its content over the Internet. Now Viacom and other studios refuse to negotiate with their writers over how much they should be compensated when content hits the Web. Why? Because it's too early to tell how much its worth. Just like they do with politicians every night, The Daily Show's writers sniffed out the inconsistencies and put together this clip. Oh, that man holding the sign with a strategically placed finger? We hear it's former Business 2.0 editor Tim Carvell, one of the originators of the deceased magazine's "101 Dumbest Moments" franchise.
Remember former Business 2.0 editor Josh Quittner, whose tech magazine got shut down by parent company Time Inc.? Now an executive editor at Fortune, he outranks, on paper, assistant managing editor Jim Aley — the man he replaced as Business 2.0's editor five years ago. Which makes the following curious: The New York-based Aley, pictured above, is in town this week. Valleywag hears he started off his visit with a breakfast with Quittner. And then Aley met with the remnants of Business 2.0's staff, who now make up Fortune's San Francisco bureau — without Quittner. Remind us again who's in charge here? And if you want your startup written up in Fortune, who's the right guy to schmooze?
Josh Quittner, the former editor of the late, lamented Business 2.0 — where, I'll disclose, I worked for seven years before joining Valleywag — has gotten one more kick in the pants from Time Inc., the tech magazine's publisher. In a cover wrap sent to subscribers with the last issue, he's listed as the magazine's "managing editor," even though he's always gone by the title of "editor" in the masthead.
TechCrunch and Business 2.0 never managed to merge, but editor Michael Arrington has snapped up former B2 editor-at-large Erick Schonfeld. (This explains why Schonfeld recently revived his dormant blog to cover the TechCrunch40 conference.) Opinionated, arrogant, and whip-smart, Schonfeld is the perfect match for Arrington. We're looking forward to the fireworks at TechCrunch edit meetings — to which Schonfeld will be dialing in remotely from Brooklyn. [Bits]
Did Business 2.0 die a natural death? Or was it murdered? The story told so far about the tech-focused, San Francisco-based magazine's demise was an abrupt drop in advertising. But in his MediaShift column, Mark Glaser suggests that a poorly planned business-side reorganization by its parent company, Time Inc., is more to blame. Combining Business 2.0's salesforce with that of Fortune and Money led not to the expected boost in ads, but a drop that hit all the magazines, with Business 2.0 — where, I should disclose, I worked before joining Valleywag — the most vulnerable. The most intriguing tidbit: Glaser reports that TechCrunch, run by Michael Arrington, explored a merger with Business 2.0. Arrington, in a blog post, confirms the rumor, and, intriguingly, suggests that Time Inc. was "proactive in destroying" the magazine to favor Fortune.
I'm Evelyn Nussenbaum. It's not an existential question. But in case you're wondering where the lovely and talented Owen Thomas has gone, the answer is Hawaii. With his spouse. Leaving me to fill his extremely large (but stylish) shoes. So who am I? The short answer is that I am a refugee from the late, great Business 2.0 Magazine—ok the October issue is coming out, but it's the last one. This is a collector's item, people! But my stint at the New York Post is probably the most relevant to Valleywag. OK, I was a business reporter, but I sat next to Keith Kelly and across from the King of All Gossip Columnists Richard Johnson—something must have rubbed off. I'll report, you decide. And you don't need to see a picture of me—I look fabulous, especially sitting here in my pj's.
Time Inc. has officially announced Business 2.0's closure in an internal memo obtained by Jossip. In it, Time Inc. executive John Squires explains that folding in some of Business 2.0's staff into Fortune will give it "the largest San Francisco bureau of any major business publication." The Wall Street Journal bureau will still be twice its size, but never mind — we assume Squires meant "magazine." No, what's interesting in the memo is what's not said.
Despite the protests of literally twos of thousands of Facebook members, Time Inc. has kicked Business 2.0 to the curb. According to an unusually emotive blog post in the Times and its dry print follow-up, editor Josh Quittner and nine staffers will be shuffled over to Fortune. (The rest of 'em will be sending you resumes when the kill teams are done a-killing.) We'd be bitchy about this, but it always sucks for actual real people when a company runs a magazine into the red and then won't let a willing buyer turn it into a competitive product. The only silver lining: Mrs. Quittner, AKA Michelle Slatalla, the Times' Andy Rooney-of-the-internet, will have plenty to columnize about now with these hubby troubles!
We'd already heard that the October issue of Business 2.0 would be the last one published by Time Inc.; now, the New York Times reports on the Bits blog that it will be the last one, period. Talks with Mansueto Ventures, publisher of Fast Company and Inc., apparently failed; as we predicted, Time Inc. did not want to strengthen a competitor. A few staffers will join Fortune and Fortune Small Business. The rest will fall victim to what Bits colorfully calls "kill teams." This being Time Inc., don't expect black-suited corporate operatives. Or anything the least bit colorful. Instead, the teams will likely kill with kindness — and boredom. Time Inc.'s HR presentations — some of which, I should disclose, I sat through as a Business 2.0 employee — are legendary as cures for insomnia.
Keith Kelly repeats yesterday's Valleywag report that Mansueto Ventures, publisher of rival tech-business title Fast Company, is negotiating to buy Time Inc.'s Business 2.0, which is in the midst of publishing its last issue under the current staff. CNET, rumored to have also bid, has apparently dropped out of the sale process. [New York Post]
The writing is on the whiteboard for Business 2.0, the tech-focused monthly magazine published by Time Inc. (and, I should note, my former employer). The October issue is definitely the last one to be published by the current staff, some of whom have already secured new jobs. But could Business 2.0 live on in some fashion? Time Inc. is ostensibly still entertaining offers to buy the magazine, if only for form's sake. But even if the sale process is a charade, some serious bidders have nevertheless emerged. Who are they?