Ashton Kutcher-backed startup Ooma is falling apart

Hold the phone: Voice-over-Internet startup Ooma is flailing, despite — or perhaps because of — a viral-video marketing campaign directed by Hollywood star Ashton Kutcher. Ooma launched its product, a $400 device which offers unlimited phone calls, last year, with a splash of press. Starstruck tech bloggers like TechCrunch's Michael Arrington gave away Ooma gadgets to readers in exchange for some facetime with Kutcher — and asked few questions about its nonsensical business model, which had it charging high upfront prices for hardware and giving away phone service. Now, we're told, its high-school-dropout CEO, Andrew Frame, has seen a host of executives leave.

The departures include Yahoo veteran Tish Whitcraft, CFO Tom Cronan, and VP of communications Sarah Ross — though we're told Ross is still consulting for the company. Outcast PR, Ooma's agency, tells me it no longer represents the company; dropping a PR agency is usually the sign of a company whose cash is running short. No wonder: Ooma's phone device is overpriced and technically unimpressive.