With A Sharper Focus on Krell, a Blurry Picture Emerges

Krell logoWe reported last week that Krell Industries owner Rondi D’Agostino vehemently denied reports we had received from various sources that the company was in bankruptcy or considering bankruptcy. D’Agostino said that things may not be perfect, but it’s business as usual at Krell. Even better, she told us, the company is close to finally launching a new model. Sounds good…right?

Since our report was published, the trickle of sources approaching us about Krell…became a torrent. In messages public (in the Comments section below our original article) and private, we heard from more sources, many directly connected with Krell, who told a much different story.

See a more detailed picture of Krell’s situation… Continue reading

Gibson, After Light Pruning, Plans Global Layoffs

Hundreds of Employees Facing Pink Slips

Gibson CEO Juszkiewicz

Gibson’s CEO Henry Juszkiewicz

Gibson Brands, a major provider of musical instrument and consumer electronics products, is in the midst of a widely reported liquidity crisis. With more than $500 million dollars in notes coming due late this summer, the company is seeking a knight in shining armor to ride in on a white horse with a big bag of money to refinance the company’s crushing debt.

To make the company appear attractive to a lender or investor, at the end of February the company sold off its shuttered Cakewalk division and laid off about 15 employees from its famous Custom Shop. Now we learn the company is planning more substantial layoffs across the board.

See more on this latest development at Gibson… Continue reading

Consumers Deeply Worried IoT is Prone to Hacking

Survey Shows Concern about Smart Device Security is Global

eMarketer logoNew research from Irdeto, a digital platform security firm, shows that a wide majority of consumers around the world are deeply concerned about the security of IoT (Internet of Things) devices. While the rollout of IoT devices continues to balloon, consumers are telling researchers that they are worried these devices are prone to destructive hacking.

See more on this latest research… Continue reading

Is Krell Out of Business?

A Krell mono amplifierRecently, we have spoken with multiple sources who have said that Krell Industries, a maker of high-end, high-performance electronics, has fallen on hard financial times. Some suggested the company closed at the end of last week for good. Others told us the company may be already in bankruptcy or in the process of filing for bankruptcy. Is this another Classé situation?

So what is really going on at Krell?… Continue reading

Geek Squad: Nerdy Repair Man or Proxy FBI Agent?

Photo of Geek Squad GeekAh…those geeks on Best Buy’s Geek Squad. They’re so cute aren’t they? With their little white shirts, clip-on black ties, and nerdy glasses taped on the nose bridge. You just know that when you give them your misbehaving computer, they’re going to get right to fixing it. But would you hand your computer over to a member of the Geek Squad if you knew he was acting as a kind of paid FBI agent by proxy, one who intends to scour your hard drive and look through your files to find anything possibly compromising to hand over to the FBI…and collect a bounty? Or would you choose a different repair center, one that simply focuses on repairing your computer?

Yes, some Geek Squad members are paid informants for the FBI… Continue reading

Amazon Invests in Another Smart Home Startup

Popular Executive Leaves the Company

Photo of the Ecobee4Just one week after Amazon made a widely reported purchase of video doorbell maker Ring (for a reported eye-popping $1 billion), we learn that it has made another investment into the smart home space, taking a share of smart thermostat maker Ecobee. Although this was an investment made through their Amazon Alexa Fund and not an outright acquisition, it seems pretty clear that Amazon is getting very serious about the smart home business.

See more on this unexpected development from Amazon… Continue reading

Amazon Admits Alexa Can Creepily Laugh at You

Amazon Echo Plus

Amazon’s Echo Plus

Reports have surfaced over the last several days of Amazon devices, such as the Echo, randomly emitting a human laugh. Different reports vary as to the conditions under which it occurs. However, many say it can just randomly be emitted on its own…and it’s really creeping out some users.

Amazon admits the problem, but see their surprising comment about it… Continue reading

CEDIA Expo by Emerald, We Hit Our First Red Flag

Expo – Under New Management

Emerald Expositions logoLast week, I reached out to Emerald Expositions executive Brianna Morris who is one of the folks assigned to produce the new CEDIA Expo show, looking to discuss a couple of topics. The first, was to explore a couple of potential story ideas. The second was an easy and simple housekeeping question, or so I thought. But it was Morris’ response to that second simple question, that has caused me to recognize  a red flag – and potentially an example of the possible downside to having an industry tradeshow owned and operated by an outside-the-industry, for-profit business.

See the red flag I stumbled across in my CEDIA Expo request to Emerald… Continue reading

In Battle with Sonos, D&M Takes Yet Another Blow

Sonos Seeks Permanent Injunction Against Infringing Products

HEOS logoThe battle rages on between D&M Holdings and Sonos over the patent infringement lawsuit brought by Sonos in 2014 against the HEOS by Denon line, and in which Sonos won the first set of their claims in a bellwether trial that concluded this past December. In retaliation for the Sonos lawsuit, D&M Holdings filed a countersuit that is now heating up, and in which they just lost a major decision from Judge Richard G. Andrews.

See more on D&M’s loss in this ongoing matter… Continue reading

Gibson Sells One Division & Cuts Staff in Another

Famous musicians using Gibson guitarsThe news and events surrounding troubled guitar and consumer electronics company Gibson Brands, Inc. seem to be moving at a rapid pace with almost daily revelations as the company struggles to survive ahead of a massive debt due-date just a few short months away. We learned over the last few days that Gibson has sold their recently shuttered Cakewalk Inc. division and laid off staff in their famous Custom Shop operation.

See more about the continued dramatic developments surrounding Gibson… Continue reading