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February 6, 2006

Fon may be speaking a little too easily

Posted by Kim Peterson at 1:16 PM

Seattle-based Speakeasy said today it's not working with Fon, a wireless startup in Spain that has received $21.7 million from such backers as Skype and Google. Fon is hoping to form a global Wi-Fi network by asking users to share their home wireless connections with others.

In interviews published yesterday, Fon executives said they have signed up Speakeasy as a revenue-sharing partner.

Not so, said Speakeasy.

"No relationship, financial or otherwise, exists between Speakeasy and FON," the company said in a statement out today. Bruce Chatterley, Speakeasy's chief executive, spoke to a Fon executive by phone for 10 minutes in late 2005, Speakeasy said. The possibility of a meeting was mentioned, but no other contact has occurred since. Speakeasy said it has asked its lawyers to demand a retraction from Fon.

See Fon founder Martin Varsavsky's blog posting announcing Fon.

Glenn Fleishman wonders if Varsavsky will retract his statements.

Update: Speakeasy has called off the legal hounds. The company issued a follow-up statement this afternoon that said that Fon now understands it has no implicit agreement with Speakeasy. The impression, according to the statement, may have beeen created because Speakeasy generally supports open wireless sharing.

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