Ihug managing director Martin Wylie says the ISP will "vigorously defend" legal action taken by a Wellington development house, over Ihug's withdrawl from a portal joint venture, theGooey.
TheGooey was a joint venture, between Ihug and development house Ifision, which went live in June. Ifision's lawyer Peter Morahan says Ihug's plans to cease to support theGooey from January 31 provoked Ifision into filing application for summary judgement in the Wellington District Court on Tuesday.
Wylie says Ihug is ceasing to supporting theGooey because of uncertainty caused by a dispute between current and former Ifision directors, but Morahan says the crux of the matter is $160,000 worth of licence fees Ihug owes Ifision.
Wylie says the money has been paid, but to theGooey, the company set up as the vehicle for the portal (also called theGooey) and not to Ifision.
"We've paid the money - once the joint venture was incorporated, all obligations were to the joint venture."
Former Ifision director Grant Wattie is in dispute with the current directors of the company about who owns VisOs, the internet operating system from which theGooey software is derived.
Morahan says the dispute is irrelevant to the joint venture, but Wylie says it created such a climate of uncertainty that Ihug had no choice but to pull out.
"It's one of the sillier commercial disputes I've seen, because the underlying product and ideas are sound."
Morahan says that there is a provision in the contract between Ifision and Ihug for resolving disputes and Ifision has sought meetings with Ihug to address the licence fee issue, but Ihug declined.
"We're very regretful Ihug has taken the attitude it has."
TheGooey, so named because it is accessed through a GUI (graphical user interface), allows those who use it webmail, personalised news feeds, text and voice messaging, calendaring and file storage facilities, among other features.
Ihug will support theGooey until January 31 and has advised clients using it to migrate their files and data away from the portal by then.