Never quit -- it's a spine-hardening mantra that fathers whisper to sons in Pee Wee football when they're lying on the field, blinking at that mysterious white light after being flattened by the strangely bearded kid who was kept back two grades. Mothers undoubtedly whisper it to their daughters, too, though I don't know when (certainly not when they're dating me).
CEOs or boards of directors should whisper it to technology companies, as well. We spend a lot of time here in the Snark Estate skewering companies for unforeseen problems, mistakes, and human rights violations that are often a part of doing business. But it's a little sad when these malevolent behemoths heave like whales and admit defeat or outright turn tail at a galumphing run. It's like watching Darth Vader pout. It's no fun and it makes the indignities and financial losses we incur at their hands that much more difficult to take. We need to encourage a little more backbone in our modern robber barons.
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Did Exxon quit after losing so many billions while selflessly trying to lubricate Prince William Sound? No -- it got back up, argued down its punitive debt in court, and spent the next couple of decades fervently sticking it to the rest of us. Will Verizon give up trying to neuter Net neutrality in order to sabotage AWS and Netflix (allegedly) because it got caught the first time? Of course not! The Verizon executive suite isn't manned by conscience-burdened wimps -- that battle is just beginning.
The Flappy Bird flip-out
Sometimes you might get in over your head, like Dong Nguyen who developed Flappy Bird. He may have started out looking to make a little grocery money, but instead wound up raking in a supposed $50,000 every 24 hours with people asking him to make real decisions almost every single day. Poor guy. No wonder he quit and killed it. He really had no other option -- certainly not offering me a 10 percent stake if I brokered the thing to one of the money-laden investment shops that send me spam PR emails all the time. Nope, that wouldn't have worked at all.
Nguyen's exit is understandable since he was all by himself facing a world of rabid fans willing to spend home mortgage money for one more chance to play his game. But it's a little more disturbing when you see the same attitude from a multinational.
Vaio con dios
Last week, Sony announced it was throwing in the towel on its Vaio PC business and selling the whole shebang to a bunch of nobodies calling themselves Japan Industrial Partners. According to Sony, the move was made so it could concentrate on thinking outside the box for real innovation, like developing more mobile and definitely more expensive consumer devices -- the bold move of a true pioneer.
I've suffered through two Vaios in my time; both were wonderfully overpriced and stuffed with dollar-generating bloatware as Sony struggled even then to make its PC ends meet. Now, instead of adding more bloat dollars, inventing a mythical and unavoidable cloud service for subscription bucks, moving its call centers to a diner in Somalia, or attempting to sucker Halliburton into selling Vaios to the NSA at $22,000 a pop, Sony's execs threw up their hands and stalked off to see what they could destroy next. That's a sad day for creative capitalism.