The New York Times reported yesterday that Facebook, the hugely successful social-networking site, is going to settle its disagreement with the founders of semi-rival ConnectU. The ConnectU founders all attended Harvard with Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, and say that after they hired him to work on their idea for a kind of dating site called Harvard Connection, he stalled instead, and developed his own project while halting progress on theirs. According to ConnectU, Zuckerberg basically grabbed their idea and turned it into Facebook. Another ex-Harvard entrepreneur has made similar claims, but doesn’t plan to sue.
Facebook is now worth somewhere around $15 billion, and Zuckerberg himself can count around a few billion of that as his own. ConnectU, on the other hand, is not a major player in the space. But the company has been causing PR problems for Facebook, and some have speculated that the company will settle just to get the problem out of the way in preparation for an IPO.