In a bit of fallout from Dalton Caldwell’s decision to refocus his company App.net on building a real-time social platform, as well his subsequent open letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg criticizing the company’s “bad-faith” acquisition practices, investor Marc Andreessen (pictured) is leaving the startup’s board.
Andreessen will be replaced on the board of Mixed Media Labs (the company that Caldwell co-founded to launch photosharing service Picplz, and which now operates App.net) by Scott Weiss, another partner at Andreessen Horowitz. Andreessen is a Facebook board member, so the swap is supposed to avoid the conflicts of interest likely to arise as Caldwell builds his own alternative to social platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
The news was first reported in AllThingsD, and Caldwell confirmed the story to me via email, telling me, “This was not unexpected.”
Caldwell first announced last month that he’s taking App.net in a new direction by building real-time social service and API “where users and developers come first, not advertisers,” and that he wants to raise $500,000 for the initiative through crowdfunding. Then yesterday, Caldwell offered a little more of the backstory. He wrote that he’d been meeting with Facebook executives to discuss a new app that App.net was building on the Facebook platform, allowing users to see which apps their friends were using. However, Caldwell claims that the meeting took an “odd turn”, with the executives saying Caldwell’s product would compete with the Facebook App Center, and pressurizing him to sell to Facebook instead.
His reaction? “I told your team I would rather reboot my company than go down that route.” And here we are, mid-reboot.