Tomorrow is Turkey day, but today is Tech Turkey day, a time-honored tradition at Tech's Bottom Line where we wag a finger in the face of tech leaders who have made life miserable for their employees and users unlucky enough to be stuck with their products. As always, it's a target-rich environment, with turkeys like Marrisa Meyer, Steve Ballmer, and the man in charge of security at Adobe simply crying out for ridicule.
Top tech turkey: Marissa Mayer, Yahoo
When it comes to employee relations, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer is the Queen of Mean. Worth hundreds of millions of dollars, Meyer has little sympathy for employees who need to work at home to care for kids or elderly parents, or to avoid a horrendous commute. After all, she's a mom and comes into the office every day, so what's the problem? Oh right, she's the boss who built an onsite nursery just for herself. So in February, Mayer took a peek at the VPN logs, decided that remote folks aren't logging in frequently enough, and issued a directive ending the practice of working from home.
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But she didn't stop there. She launched a new policy you might remember from college: Grading on a curve -- except this time it's not about how well you understand physics, it's about keeping your job. Mayer wants supervisors to grade their staffers on a curve and fire the ones at the bottom. I guess it's just a coincidence that Mayer is on the board of directors of Walmart, one of America's worst major employers.
Top tech turkey: Steve Ballmer, Microsoft
Just when you thought that Microsoft had gotten the message about Windows 8, Windows 8.1 rolls up out of the ditch. The new iteration has a few good tweaks, but by and large, it's still the same old Frankenstein. Though he's (finally!) leaving, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was in charge of all this and apparently hasn't learned much about what users need. What's particularly bad is that the basic framework of Windows is now locked in for years to come, unless we're lucky enough to get a successor who doesn't deserve to be trussed and stuffed.
Top tech turkey: Ginni Rometty, IBM
IBM CEO Virginia Marie "Ginni" Rometty runs a company that holds an enormous portfolio of patents and is more than rich and powerful enough to beat any troll that comes a-knockin'. But IBM (along with Microsoft) selfishly and successfully lobbied Congress to remove a key provision from an anti-trolling bill working its way through Congress.