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Brier Dudley's blog

Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

February 2, 2011 at 3:08 PM

Paul Allen’s Kiha lays off staff, halts beta

Paul Allen’s mobile phone productivity startup, Kiha Software, is going through a few changes.

Last week, Kiha laid off an undisclosed number of its employees and on Monday it ended a public beta test of its software for organizing contacts and other information on Android-based mobile phones.

Allen invested $20 million in the venture before its “Aro Mobile” application was unveiled at November’s Web 2.0 conference in San Francisco. The software received attention from national media outlets.

Kiha’s chief executive and co-founder, former Microsoft manager John Lazarus, stepped down later in November. Kiha’s website now lists Chris Purcell — vice president of technology at Allen’s Vulcan umbrella company — as its top executive.

Spokesman David Postman said Allen isn’t folding the company. He wouldn’t comment on whether the company has been shopped to potential buyers.

“We’re going through an ongoing assessment of what the best way to deliver that product is,” Postman said. “The company still operates. We’ve got dozens of people working there who are working hard to figure out the best way to get this in the hands of consumers.”

A news release issued last fall announcing Aro’s public debut said it was “was born out of Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s vision for a more intelligent mobile experience and was developed by Kiha Software during nearly three years of work by a team of nearly sixty talented professionals in Seattle, Washington.”

Comments | More in | Topics: aro mobile, Billionaire techies, kiha

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