Tech's top turkeys: 5 fowl execs get plucked

Yahoo's Marissa Mayer, Adobe's Brad Arkin, Microsoft's Steve Ballmer, and two more have made life miserable for IT workers and users alike

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The bill would have expanded the CBM (covered business method), which makes it faster for the U.S. Patent Office to knock down low-quality software patents, the weapon of choice for many trolls, and freezes litigation while the patent is examined. The latter point is very significant because litigation is simply too expensive for many smaller firms, so they often surrender even when they know they're in the right. But IBM, apparently worried that the change would somehow undermine its patents, led the charge, and the bill is moving forward without the key CBM. Shame on you, Rometty; I expected better.

Top tech turkey: Brad Arkin, Adobe Systems

Adobe's software is practically ubiquitous, so the company, and its CSO Brad Arkin have a special obligation to be sure it's, well, secure. But as we all know, it's anything but. Flash and Acrobat have long been conduits for malware. But the latest incident, takes the cake, or should we say -- turkey? Adobe has admitted that 38 million users have been affected by a cyber attack. The software giant, responsible for programs found on hundreds of millions of computers, originally claimed 3 million customer accounts had credit card information stolen. Seriously, what does Arkin do for a living?

Top tech turkey: The federal contracting system

It would be tempting to blame Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius for the horribly botched rollout of, the website for applying for coverage under Obamacare. While the onetime governor of Kansas surely deserves a good deal of blame, the problem is actually broader. The whole federal contracting establishment (vendors and agency procurement/management) has long mishandled major software and hardware projects that have a huge impact on people's lives -- not just someone's profits.

The FBI, IRS, and other high-profile agencies have wasted hundreds of millions of dollars and years of operational competence due to the many failed software efforts undertaken by this broken system of insider contractors and hapless government bureaucrats. The unconscionable delays in benefits faced for several years by returning veterans because of the failures of Veterans Administration databases is in some ways even worse than the Obamacare debacle because it's gone on so long.

No doubt turkeys galore are still out there, but those are five of my least favorite. Speaking of Thanksgiving, let me say I'm grateful for the privilege of writing this blog (for money!) and grateful to you for reading it. Have a great holiday!

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This article, "Tech's top turkeys: 5 fowl execs get plucked," was originally published by Read more of Bill Snyder's Tech's Bottom Line blog and follow the latest technology business developments at For the latest business technology news, follow on Twitter.

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