2006 Foot-in-Mouth Awards

2006 foot in mouth awards

Here’s the installment to last year’s Foot in Mouth Awards. Check it out!

by Tony Long

Leading off with a stupid quote from President Bush might seem a little too easy, perhaps unfair, a bit like stealing candy from a blind kid or something. But in a year chockablock with moronic quips, obtuse observations and mind-boggling inanities, you still have to put Dubya front and center. He is, after all, the most powerful man in the world.

“One of the things I’ve learned on the Google is to pull up maps. It’s very interesting to see — I’ve forgotten the name of the program — but you get the satellite, and you can — like, I kinda like to look at the ranch. It reminds me of where I wanna be sometimes.”
— Bush, asked during an interview with CNBC if he ever googled anybody.

“The Google.” How quaint — if it were coming from your grandmother. (And that would be Google Earth, Mr. President.)

Here’s a real beaut, also from a prominent political figure. For breathtaking cluelessness it actually surpasses Bush by a wide margin. But coming as it does from a mere U.S. senator, it must necessarily be subordinate. Rank has its privileges.

“They want to deliver vast amounts of information over the internet. And again, the internet is not something you just dump something on. It’s not a big truck. It’s a series of tubes. And if you don’t understand those tubes can be filled and if they are filled, when you put your message in, it gets in line and it’s going to be delayed by anyone that puts into that tube enormous amounts of material.”
— Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) deconstructs the frustrations of (we think) file sharing, during a speech opposing net neutrality before the Senate Commerce Committee.

OK, the guy is 85 years old. Ordinarily, you’d cut him some slack. But Stevens chaired that committee — which oversees regulation of the internet.

In the interest of being fair and balanced, like Fox News, it should be noted that famous liberals can have trouble getting it, too. Here’s CNN’s Larry King, admitting that he’s never used the internet before:
“What do you do? Punch little buttons and things?”

And how about this one, from Eric Schmidt, CEO of internet Wirtschaftswunder Google:
“We actually did an evil scale and decided (that) not to serve at all was worse evil.”

Google’s motto is “Don’t be evil.” When the company started doing business in China, it had to amend that motto slightly. Google took heavy flak for bending to the oppressive regulations severely limiting free speech on the internet there. Schmidt defended staying in the market (an important word to remember here), saying that even though “we weren’t wild about the restrictions, it was even worse to not try to serve those users at all.” This is what Schmidt’s “evil scale” concluded, apparently. Presumably, his accountants concluded the same thing, but for very different reasons. A number of parody sites drew their own conclusions.

This next quote, by Seagate CEO Bill Watkins, doesn’t necessarily qualify as lame. It’s certainly cynical, but to some folks it probably just sounds honest:

“Let’s face it. We’re not changing the world. We’re building a product that helps people buy more crap — and watch porn.”
— As quoted by Fortune magazine during a corporate dinner in San Francisco recently.

Love him or hate him, Bill Gates has been pretty successful over the years, but he’s never been much of a prognosticator. Back in the early ’90s he prophesied that the “internet will never amount to anything.” He followed that up in 2004 with an airy dismissal of the iPod during an interview with Germany’s Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung: “I don’t think the success of the iPod can continue in the long term, however good Apple may be.”

Gates was forced to eat crow on that one, too, which he did this year in a speech at Stanford University, where he described the iPod as:
“… phenomenal, unbelievable, fantastic.”

It was also in 2004 when Gates proclaimed that, “Two years from now, spam will be solved.” Given this guy’s penchant for picking winners, let’s hope he doesn’t spend too much time at the track.

And speaking of Microsofties, Gates’ caporegime in Redmond, Steve Ballmer, he of the infamous Monkey Boy dance, is a veritable trove of colorful, catty and occasionally just plain stupid observations. His 2004 classic — “My children … in many dimensions they’re as poorly behaved as many other children, but at least in one dimension I’ve got them brainwashed: You don’t use Google, and you don’t use an iPod” — is hard to beat. But he didn’t exactly take a vow of silence during 2006, either:

“I want to squirt you a picture of my kids. You want to squirt me back a video of your vacation. That’s a software experience.”
— Ballmer, riffing on the virtues of the Zune.

“You’re not asking that and I don’t want to answer that.”
— Interviewee Ballmer, instructing a reporter for CRN on how to ask a difficult question.

Hubris is a common malady in the ego-bloated tech world, and Ken Kutagari, the chairman of Sony’s video-game division, can sling it with the best of them. For sheer arrogance, it’s tough to top this:
“The next generation begins when we say it does.”

Given Sony’s miserable year, you have to fear for the next generation.

This one sounds like a guy doing a little butt covering:

“The fact is that innovation was a little different in the 20th century. It’s not easy (now) to come up with greater and different things.”
— That would be Nicholas Donofrio, IBM’s executive VP of innovation and technology, in an interview with ZDNet Asia. Sounds like a guy who could use a little vacation.

“I would buy a Mac if I didn’t work for Microsoft.”

Not a lame quote but definitely a foot-in-mouth pronouncement, coming as it did from Microsoft executive Jim Allchin in an e-mail to Messrs. Gates and Ballmer. Naturally, it found its way out the door. The lame part came later, when Allchin felt compelled to “clarify” things in a follow-up e-mail released to the press:

“In the e-mail, I made a comment for effect about buying a Mac if I was not working for Microsoft. Taken out of context, this comment could be confusing.”

Fire for effect. Roger Wilco and out.

Source: Wired News

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  1. "Let's face it. We're not changing the world. We're building a product that helps people buy more crap — and watch porn."

    lol. Hey! There is nothing wrong with that!!! Trek on!!!!

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