Kevin Carmony Interview (Part 1)

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I met Kevin Carmony a few years ago, when he was the CEO of Linspire. He now is off on his own, running a website called Dating DNA.

Kevin has a successful entrepreneurial past, including founder and President of NewQuest Technologies, Inc. NewQuest introduced one of the very first Microsoft Windows 3.0 products on the market–the award-winning personal information manager Ascend. Ascend received many notable awards, including Byte Magazine’s Hottest Product Award for 1992, Byte’s nomination for Product of the Year in 1992, and Computer Reseller News’ Software Star Search Award in 1991.

Kevin is also a published author and has co-owned a clothing manufacturing firm. He graduated in 1983 as that year’s Outstanding Business Graduate from the School of Management at Weber State University.

The reason I have him with me today is that there is some weird stuff going on with Linspire right now. Kevin knows more about that than I ever could, so I wanted to get him on air to talk with him. Kevin was the first employee at Linspire. He spent four years as the President, and the next two as CEO. He resigned only about ten months ago. His years as President were challenging for him. He was working under Michael Robertson at that time. Michael decided to move on to other ventures two years ago, and promised to stay out of the running of Linspire, leaving that to Kevin. For two years, Michael did just that.

During that time, Kevin came out with Freespire, among other things. About ten months ago, though, Michael and Kevin began having serious disagreements about what direction to take next. The biggest one dealt with layoffs. Kevin wanted to do things one way, he wanted to do them another. Since Michael was a non-functioning, non-executive chairman who did nothing with the company for two years, Kevin handled the layoffs the way he thought was fair. After more disagreements, Kevin resigned. To top matters off and make them worse, Michael then filed a police report claiming that myself and five other Executives embezzled the company to get severance packages for the people who were laid off. Michael tried to reverse the wire transfers of the payments. They sent 1099s to those people, so that they’d have to pay the taxes back to the IRS that they already paid via withholding. All in all, Michael and the new CEO of Linspire made those people’s lives a living hell.

At this point, Kevin couldn’t take it anymore. He began going public with what was transpiring. On June 30th, Kevin received a very short memo that went out to all Linspire shareholders. The memo stated that “The stockholders voted to approve…” the sale of all Linspire assets to Xandros. At that point, there was no mention of how much it was sold for or anything. As a major stockholder, I offered to purchase the company at fifty cents per share. With Michael refusing to state how much the shares are worth or were sold for, it stands to reason that there is something just not right.

Michael has publicly stated that the assets of his company were sold to Xandros after “years of frustration in trying to achieve the goal of desktop Linux.. Kevin contradicts this, and I have to agree. Just because Linspire, Kevin included, may not have succeeded as well as Ubuntu, does not mean that it’s impossible to achieve.

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