The polymorphous life of Akimbo came to an abrupt end this week, as the embattled video-on-demand turned white label video service was shut down for good. The surprising move went down just four months after Akimbo was given an additional $4 million to fund its video services venture. Now the extra cash will go towards former employees' severance packages. Let us reflect on the tumultuous past of Akimbo.
Akimbo hit play in 2002 with a hardware-based VOD set top box that allowed consumers to download television shows from its 200 partners. When the hardware didn't work out, the company branched off into the PC software business with Akimbo for Media Center in the fall of 2005. It struggled until 2006, when the company received a much-needed shot in the arm from Cisco and at&t to the tune of $15 million.
In February 2008, Akimbo shifted, again, to a video service model, but failed to raise a targeted $8 million in funding. High-level executive squabbles earlier in the year also threatened to derail the fledgling company, and this week they apparently came to a boil. More than a dozen employees were terminated on May 22, with a three-person skeleton team staying on to oversee the company's final days. All told, Akimbo received approximately $56 million over the course of its existence for basically nothing. If only Gizmondo would take the hint. [TechCrunch]