Friday’s Guest: Michael Robertson of MP3Tunes

Friday’s guest will be Michael Robertson, CEO and Founder of MP3Tunes and long standing advocate for open standards, competition and empowering the consumer with choice.  This has often brought him head to head with big corporations and the occasional big corporation lawsuit.

The first company Michael founded was MP3.com 1997 where he amassed 1 million downloaded able MP3 files.  Four years later he sold the company to Vivendi Universal for $372 million in cash and stock.

His next project was Linspire an affordable, license-free desktop Linux operating system that in four years became one of the easiest Linux distributions available.

Next Michael decided to enter the VoIP market with SIPphone.com (renamed Gizmo5) in which they built a platform and directory that hardware or software developers could offer free VoIP services.  Google acquired Gizmo5 in November 2009 for a reported $30 million to integrate with Google Talk and Google Voice.

Currently Michael is back in the music business with MP3Tunes, a music storage “locker” where users upload their music and can listen to it through any web browser including mobile devices and home entertainment systems.  Working in the music industry again has also brought lawsuits back into his life, most recently from EMI.

Supporting higher education, Michael launched REEF (Robertson Educational Empowerment Foundation) in the fall of 2002 at the University of California, San Diego. REEF is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to promoting new and innovative programs of investment in education.

When: Feb. 19th: 1pm (Pacific), 4pm (Eastern), 9pm (London), 8am (Sydney, Feb. 20th)

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