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Zer01 loses judgement, but it might mean nothing

Just a year ago, Zer01 was the talk of the industry. They had picked up the Best of CTIA award from Laptop magazine, and were trucking towards the debut of their $80 unlimited voice, messaging, and data services. There were a few skeptics, but Ben Piilani, chief executive of the venture, continually reassured the public. But then the target July release date came and went, and people wondered. Nancy Gohring did a great job of following the saga, and she now has the latest word. Global Verge, a multilevel marketing firm that had partnered with Zer01, won a $43 million judgment, in no small part because Piilani has dropped off the grid. This has Global Verge wondering if it will ever collect, but the implication is that they will not.

There’s no reason to rehash the whole ordeal. Zer01 claimed it could do what others could not, in a way that seemed too good to be true. We know by now what to think of such claims. After Gohring’s excellent reporting Laptop rescinded the award. I don’t know how they were fooled in the first place.

My tip-off as to Zer01’s nature was when they started making aggressive threats of legal action against writers who criticized them. That’s never a good sign. Sure enough, no legal action resulted, and again the company’s CEO is nowhere to be found.

One day, maybe Piilani will resurface and an intrepid reporter like Gohring can find out exactly he expected to accomplish with this venture.