Bitter Breakup Splits Tech's Biggest Boosters

It should be a happy day for Mike Arrington and Jason Calacanis. The tech nabobs just wrapped their latest TechCrunch 50 conference, which captivated venture capitalists and the press. But the moguls are locked in Northern California-Southern California civil war.

No one is saying precisely what happened. But Calacanis, a Hollywood internet entrepreneur who tools around in a Tesla Roadster and is buddy-buddy with Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher, has tweeted that TechCrunch 50, which the men co-host, is over after its third iteration. He also "openly talked about a fight" with Arrington to others at the conference, Paul Boutin reports on VentureBeat.com.

Calacanis seemed to confirm all this to, of all people, a puppet controlled by New York humorist Loren Feldman (see left).

And Arrington, who publishes the influential Silicon Valley blog TechCrunch, isn't quite denying it either. Arrington cautioned in a phone interview that he wasn't familiar with all of Calacanis' public statements today. But he added, "I'm not going to say I didn't have words with him because I have words with people all the time." Besides, he added, things are crazy at the end of a long conference.

He wouldn't get into details, but did point us, in response to questions about the incident, to a blog post he recently wrote called Let's Not Let Silicon Valley Become Just Like Hollywood, in which he argues that the powers-that-be in the Northern California tech scene should avoid becoming as pompous and hierarchical as the folks in Hollywood, i.e. the people Calacanis likes to hang out with. Cryptic. But Arrington wouldn't be much more specific: "I'm not too concerned Jason is telling people he doesnt want to talk to me. I'm sure life will go on without Jason Calacanis and the drama he creates by talking to puppets."

Sure, life will go on, and in the meantime the rest of us have another tech feud to keep us entertained. It's been too long since one of these flared up.

(Speaking of which, we've logged several emails and instant messages to Calacanis and have yet to hear back. If you have any insights into what happened, please email us.)

(Top pic: Calacanis, left, and Arrington in happier days, by Frank Gruber.)