Earlier this year I wrote about how the CoStar -Xceligent fight was more like Rocky I, than a battle for the future of commercial real estate. I was wrong, it’s more like a bad soap opera (which suggests there are actually “good” soap operas).
In the earlier blog, I suggested in one corner was CoStar – the $9 billion data giant and recognized world champion of commercial real estate information. Yes, they have their fans, but they also have their detractors. In the other corner was Xceligent, a little known ‘up and comer’ that the everyday Joe (in this case the commercial real estate broker) could really get behind.
Xceligent’s founder, Doug Curry, positioned the battle as such – previously telling Bisnow he believed that the legal battle would determine not only the fate of the company he founded, but also the future of how commercial property data is shared.
As it turns out, the “battle that would determine the fate of the company” ultimately determined his own fate – as he was quickly relieved of his duties after the courts ruled in favor of CoStar.
According to Bisnow, “one of Xceligent’s contractors, RE BackOffice, revealed in a filing Friday that Xceligent directed it to hack CoStar’s website and copy its content. The contractor specifically named Curry as being involved in directing the online data theft, and agreed to pay CoStar all profits it received from Xceligent.”
Then, according to The Real Deal, “barely two hours after news of Xceligent CEO Doug Curry’s firing broke, rival CoStar sent out an email to its customers touting the decision as a moral victory and alleging that he was fired because of CoStar’s accusations in court.”
The Real Deal went on to report: “Sources close to Xceligent insist that the firing had nothing to do with the lawsuit, but CoStar drew a different conclusion in its email. The firm has been waging an (at times dirty) PR war against its rival. Tapping into nativist themes, it noted in another Monday email to customers that Xceligent is a “foreign owned company” and accused it of running a “research sweatshop in the Philippines jungle.”
But wait, it gets better! You see, back in 2012, there was another legal finding where the FTC recognized the likelihood of CoStar having a monopoly position in the market if it did not divest itself of Curry’s company. Oh, did I mention that CoStar once owned Xceligent?
Let me summarize this in soap opera like terms. Daddy owns a big oil company. Son leaves oil company and starts his own. Son starts to do well. Daddy wants to teach the son a lesson and crush the son’s company. Son hires contractor to steal Daddy’s drilling plans. Who needs JR, Bobby and Sue Ellen? Yes, I am using a 90’s TV reference as this is the last time I watched TV. I can’t wait for season three of CoStar – Xceligent. Maybe I will “binge” watch! Not sure what exactly that means, but it sounds fun. Stay tuned.
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