Gizmondo: The Story That Keeps On Giving

We’ve done a fairly thorough job of chronicling the “rise” and demise of Gizmondo. The fun really started when Russell unearthed the company’s, uh, interesting executive renumeration scheme, and continued with the news that some of the execs had served jail time for organized crime and fraud. Unsurprisingly, the company has gone under — but the fun doesn’t stop there.

Early Tuesday morning In the posh Los Angeles suburb of Malibu, a million-dollar Ferrari Enzo was completely destroyed after crashing during a street race with a Mercedes SLR. The Ferrari, estimated to be traveling at over 100 miles per hour, “careened up an embankment, probably became airborne and then slammed into a pole, slicing the vehicle in half, police said.” A man, who escaped the crash with only a cut lip, said he was a passenger in the car, which was driven by “a German man called Dietrich who had fled the scene”. Turns out the passenger — who had a blood-alcohol level of 0.09, above the legal limit — is the owner of the car, and police are skeptical of this claim that somebody else was driving, since only the driver’s side airbag deployed.

The car owner’s name? Stefan Eriksson, the one-time head of Gizmondo Europe, who resigned after his criminal past came to light. Incidentally, Eriksson also used to race cars professionally.

In the meantime, the collapse of the European company continues, with some strange goings-on afoot. Guy Kewney says he’s heard reports that Tiger Telematics, the US company behind the Gizmondo, wants to buy the assets of the European company, but it’s unclear what’s going on with the US company — particularly as its Web site has gone offline. Probably the most salient point in all of this is that, as Guy points out, the company spent £140 million to make £1.4 million in revenue — meaning every customer they got (assuming the estimate that they sold 10,000 Gizmondos is accurate, though it seems optimistic) cost them about £14,000. Now that’s the kind of acumen they don’t teach you in business school…

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