I really thought it was going to be my year. But then Time named Bill and Melinda Gates and Bono its men/woman of 2005. Sure, they’ve done plenty to fight Third World poverty and disease, but have they contributed anything to the world of geek gossip? And I don’t know about that Bono guy. He was never really the same after Cher left him.
The L Word: Apparently one column isn’t enough to account for all of 2005’s losers. While Sony was easily top choice, Cringe readers offered up several other unworthy candidates, including Microsoft for failing to anticipate demand for its Xbox 360. CEO Steve Ballmer said even his kids couldn't get their hands on one. (I understand they also can’t get anyone to fix their home PC’s blue screen of death.)
Bank of America, ChoicePoint, CardSystems Solutions, and Citibank all warrant a nod for their tireless efforts to expose millions of customer records to identity thieves. Hey, cybercriminals need love -- and credit -- too.
Some readers picked losers who were also winners. For example, Carly “Don’t Cry for Me” Fiorina walked away from HP with $21 million and a set of steak knives. HP shareholders also won; after Carly left, the company’s shares gained almost 40 percent.
Finally, there’s the government of Kazakhstan, which decommissioned the borat.kz Web site of faux TV personality Borat Sagdiyev (aka British comic Sacha Baron Cohen) after Borat praised the country for, among other things, having “some of the cleanest prostitutes in the whole of Central Asia.” I don’t know why they’re so upset; I’ve said worse about Microsoft.
Costco? Dell No: Reader Matt S. says he is perfectly happy with his Costco-purchased Dell. But others are not quite so sanguine. For example, Costco consumer Alex A. says when he called Dell with a question about his warranty, he spoke with six techs (named, respectively, Wasi, Gaurav, Farhan, Yuvaraj, Satyendra, and Melvin), who finally told him to contact QVC for support. Apparently they don’t watch the home shopping channels over in India. Who knew?
Send your hot tips and predictions for 2006 to firstname.lastname@example.org. You may snag a new Cringe bag for the New Year.