The 10 dumbest tech moves of 2010

ass_hat-1-211 It’s been quite a year. And in what has become a tradition here in Cringeville, it’s time to honor the most malicious, obnoxious, offensive, or nonsensical behavior in technology. This year’s winners include captains of industry, titans of technology, sultans of sweat, and a number of other people desperately in need of a clue.

Among this year’s award winners: Steve Jobs, Steve Ballmer, Mark Zuckerberg, Google, and the CIA. Without further ado, I give you the 2010 Moonie Award winners:

1. I pity your grotesque ignorance on the topic but feel strangely compelled to respond anyway award. Goes to none other than Steve Jobs, who became a one-stop-email-response shop for iPhone developers miffed over being dropped from the App Store, customers complaining about iPhone 4 reception problems, would-be journalism students complaining about Apple’s less-than-responsive media team (join the club), journalist-bloggers with an axe to grind, and yes, even readers of this blog. You get the feeling maybe he’s just lonely?

2. We love our customers, but email our CEO and we’ll sue your ass award. Is presented to AT&T and its benevolent dictator Randall Stephenson. After receiving two polite emails from a ticked-off AT&T user (is there any other kind?), Stephenson’s executive team left the user a voice mail containing threats of legal action if the user didn’t back off. Naturally, customer Giorgio Galante posted the voice mail recording to his blog, Engadget published a story about it, and AT&T was once again revealed as complete and utter tools.

3. Best use of a reality distortion field not by Steve Jobs award. This year’s winner has to be Steve Ballmer, who seems to be increasingly operating in a parallel universe inside his own imagination. At various times during 2010 he called the Apple iPad “just another PC,” welcomed Google to “the world of competition,” and said Windows Phone 7 is “early” to the smartphone market. Also, when the big comet comes in 2012 to destroy the earth and spirit away the chosen people, it’s making a special stop at Redmond just to pick him up.

4. We stole your content, now you get to pay us for the privilege award. Goes to Judith Griggs, erstwhile editor of Cooks Source magazine, who managed to tick off the entire Internet at once by making the dubious claim everything published online was in “the public domain,” and then sending a snotty email to a writer who complained, saying that the writer should be paying her for the time she spent “improving” the original piece. Cooks Source magazine is now dead, and Judith is looking for work. I hear Bojangles Fried Chicken is looking for fry cooks.

5. ‘Do it to me one more time, I can never get enough’ award. Is presented to file swappin’ mama Jammie Thomas-Rassett, who keeps fighting the RIAA and losing worse each time. Having walked away from a $54,000 judgement (and a $25,000 settlement offer), Thomas-Rassett is now on the hook for $1.5 million – at least until the next trial concludes.

6. Half an hour later we feel much less self-righteous award. Is honorably presented to Google for its swift aboutface on China this year. It seems Google just can’t stay mad at those crazy commie-capitalists, despite the hack attacks and the censorship. When you control the world’s largest untapped market for digital advertising, even the world’s biggest search engine apparently feels the need to bow.

7. Worst six-word speech uttered in 2010. There were many stupid things said and caught on video this year, but the award goes to ex-BP CEO Tony Hayward’s “I would like my life back.” Hayward did ultimately manage to get his life back (though not his job); the 11 humans and thousands of animals killed by the worst environmental disaster in the history of the planet weren’t so lucky.

8. Don’t look now, but half of your corporate logo is missing award. This year’s hands-down winner is MySpace, which adopted a fill-in-the-blank approach to its new corporate identity, My_____. (My “space” — get it?) Given the once-mighty social network’s complete capitulation to Facebook this year, a blank logo seems wholly appropriate.

9. I really wish we’d brought more paper towels and possibly a squeegee award. Is bestowed upon everybody’s favorite 26-year-old billionaire Mark Zuckerberg. Zucky perspired so much during an interview with All Things D’s Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher last June that it became a story unto itself. In addition to surpassing Steve Jobs on the list of American billionaires, little Zucker also supplanted Steve Ballmer for the title of World’s Sweatiest Geek. I understand he’s planning to come out with a new pro-perspirant called Zuck For Men.

10. Best repurposing of an obscene chat acronym by a US Federal agency. Though it’s facing stiff competition from some truly amusing acronyms (ASSBAG, anyone?) the CIA’s newly formed WikiLeaks Task Force – or WTF for short – takes the prize. And I bet you thought spooks had no sense of humor.

Who are your award winners for 2010? Post them below or email me: dan@dantynan.com.

This post originally appeared on InfoWorld, much to their embarassment.

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