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The naughty list: Tech CEOs getting coal for Christmas

These technology leaders displayed the worst behavior or underperformed in 2019.
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1 of 10 Jason Perlow/ZDNet

The Naughty List: Tech CEOs getting coal for Christmas

You've seen our 2019 Tech Turkeys -- companies that had the absolute worst products and services of the year. Now, it's time to give the gift of carbon for those black deeds done by the industry's CEOs. Even the Grinch deserves better than this motley crew.

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2 of 10 Jason Perlow/ZDNet

Mark Zuckerberg (FaceBook)

While he continually touts user privacy is a pillar of Facebook (how can you not burst out in laughter watching this guy onstage in front of a screen with the title "The future is private" on it?) it's clear he not only doesn't believe it but is, in fact, lying his butt off. Facebook's actions and policy prove the opposite is exact. And allowing political ads without any fact-checking? Sorry, Zuck. You suck.

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3 of 10 Reuters/Twitter

Jack Dorsey (Twitter)

One word:Nazis. The platform continues to enable bullies -- from the most random hate-filled jerks with a few dozen followers, to world leaders using Twitter with tens of millions of followers to bully their political opponents and also everyday citizens. Jack Dorsey could stop it at any time, but he seems to be bound by a set of principles that nobody actually understands. Fail whale, Jack.

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4 of 10 Jason Perlow/ZDNet

Sundar Pichai (Google and Alphabet)

What happened to "Don't Be Evil," exactly? Oh, right, Google killed it from its mission statement in 2018. The company made the top of our Tech Turkeys list in 2019, and failure has to be assigned at the very head. The company has lost its way and is no longer perceived as a neutral, open-source oriented, freemium services-driven competitor to the aggressive, OEM strong-arming Microsoft, and Steve Jobs' obnoxiously elitist Apple. Its data-hovering practices with Project Nightingale make it an industry pariah and not a company to be envied or emulated, and it invites strong government intervention.

Richard M. Stallman
5 of 10 Jason Perlow/ZDNet

Richard M. Stallman (Free Software Foundation)

Often considered the father and the sage of the Free Software movement, and for his contributions to the GNU toolstack and GPL license, Richard M. Stallman resigned in disgrace from the Free Software Foundation after coming to the defense of convicted billionaire pedophile and sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. No Latkes or Chanukah presents for you, Richard.

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6 of 10 Jason Perlow/ZDNet

Tim Cook (Apple)

Despite a few minor hiccups, Apple had a fairly good 2019. But as it came to a close, its CEO decided to put on a toadying performance to feed the jingoistic urges of President Donald Trump with a dog-and-pony show at the "new" Mac Pro plant in Texas, which has been in operation since 2013. Oy vey, Tim Apple.

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7 of 10 Brandon Friend-Solis

Jaime Siminoff (Ring)

Why is this company and its CEO not tackling the police department controversy and making it clear what Ring is and isn't doing? Ring has been in the news all year long regarding privacy and security and none of it has been good. Oompah-loompah doopity doo, I've got a broken home security device for you.

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8 of 10 Jason Perlow/ZDNet

Dara Khosrowshahi (Uber)

While it's not good that there were 6,000 reports of sexual assault by riders on its service between 2017 and 2018, the company has at least been transparent about this issue. But Uber has also been abysmal to drivers under Khosrowshahi's watch, by making them sign releases that say they are working for a technology company as contractors and not providing transportation services as permanent employees. Shame, Dara. Shame.

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9 of 10 Jason Perlow/ZDNet

Elon Musk (Tesla and SpaceX)

Billionaire Elon Musk, CEO of both Tesla and SpaceX, prevailed in his "Pedo Guy" litigation with British cave diver Vernon Unsworth. Still, it sets a terrible precedent for online behavior when a highly prominent, wealthy figure such as Musk, with substantial resources, can engage in highly publicized ad-hominem conduct with average citizens without any fear of consequences. It's reprehensible conduct, and I suspect we haven't seen the last of Musk making a total ass of himself in public. I want to say no toys for Elon, but the guy builds his own rockets and Cybertrucks. Maybe he can send himself to another planet with one and leave poor working-class people alone.

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10 of 10 Shutterstock / a katz

Donald J Trump (President of the United States of America)

Whether it is as a result of tormenting average people and his political opponents in front of a captive audience of 67 million followers on Twitter or putting our trade relationship with China in peril and escalating the possibility for a costly trade war, with billions in tariffs potentially in store for American technologies companies, the President of the US -- America's Tech CEO -- should be the ultimate recipient of bad tidings in 2019. 

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