On his last day at AOL and just a few hours after announcing plans to start his own personal blog, Michael Arrington had some uncharacteristically laid back things to say about his negotiations with his former bosses. Jessica Vascellaro at The Wall Street Journal reports:
Arrington said that despite the brouhaha that played out publicly and behind the scenes, two days before the break-up became official, he and the company got "very very close" to an agreement for him to stay.
On Saturday, "We got to a point where we agreed on the statement that I would stay with AOL and continue to write," he said. He and AOL executives began discussing a blog post he would write announcing the plan but "there was a concern that we would 'reignite the flames' with anything I wrote. We just couldn't come to an agreement."
It tough to decide whether or not this will make TechCrunch readers feel better or worse about how Arrington's well-publicized exit played out. Barry Diller, chairman and of AOL-competitor IAC, imagines a different version of the story. In a Q&A session at the Paley Center for Media, Diller suggested that AOL "destroyed" TechCrunch by letting Arrington go and should've stuck to the initial plan of saying that Arrington wasn't a journalist. Diller said Armstrong should've told editorial director Arianna Huffington, "Shut up and go back to your room…" instead of pushing Arrington out. "Now he's gone and and now they own this thing, which has no voice. Congratulations, what a good piece of business!"