"Like giving a glass of ice water to someone in hell"
One of the greatest putdowns ever was uttered by the master of tech-based A-holery, Steve Jobs. Asked how many copies of iTunes were being used worldwide, Jobs boasted that there could be more than 300 million pieces of the software being used.
"So that makes you one of the biggest Windows developers out there," the interviewer prompted.
"Oh yeah," Jobs replied. "We've got cards and letters from lots of people saying that iTunes is one of their favourite apps on Windows."
Then, after a little pause, he added: "It's like giving a glass of ice water to someone in hell."
Ouch! Apparently, when he met Bill Gates later on, in a pre-interview meeting, Gates said to Jobs "so I guess I'm the representative from hell."
Jobs merely handed Gates a cold bottle of water.
"She will be terminated within the hour"
In early March, 2007, as Google was expanding in as fast and furious a manner as was humanly possible, one of its recruiters from the "Google.com Engineering" group made a mistake that would cost her her career: she cold-contacted an Apple engineer by email.
"What's so bad about that?" you might be asking. Well, Apple and Google had signed a secret (and illegal) non-solicitation compact organised between her boss, Eric Schmidt, and Apple's Steve Jobs.
Jobs then sent an email directly to Schmidt. "Eric," it said laconically, "I would be very pleased if your recruiting department would stop doing this."
Once Schmidt contacted the responsible office,Google's senior staffing strategist Arnnon Geshuri, replied almost immediately.
"On this specific case, the sourcer who contacted this Apple employee should not have and will be terminated within the hour," she said. "We are scrubbing the sourcer's records to ensure she did not contact anyone else."
This was seconded by Google, who asked Geshuri to "Please make a public example of this termination within the group."
Scary stuff! Makes the free bus rides, on-site gym and death benefits seem like quite a steep price...
"Bulk following is unwanted behavior"
When Twitter disabled its controversial bulk-follow function back in September of 2013, it annoyed people who - well, loved to bulk-follow people. Companies that wanted to use tools allowing them to follow hundreds of people all at once, and then unfollow all of them if they didn't follow back, asked Costolo what was up.
And boy, did he have some words for them.
"A revolution in engorged, cloying, dumbstruck rhetoric"
When Twitter co-founder Biz Stone unveiled his much-awaited new project, everyone was excited about what it would be.Would the project be a new social network, or some kind of distributed hive mind?
No, it was Jelly – a "new kind of search engine" for Android and iOS.
"Say you're walking along and you spot something unusual," Stone explains, "You want to know what it is so you launch Jelly, take a picture, circle it with your finger, and type, 'What's this?'"
Jelly allows you to send photos to other users and ask questions, crowd-sourcing your answers.
A good idea? Not according to Valleywag, which excoriated Jelly in a blistering take-down.
Jelly is "Yahoo! Answers for the bourgeoisie," wrote Valleywag. "This truly is a revolution in engorged, cloying, dumbstruck rhetoric, a true disruption of horse sh*t... It's an app for the sake of apps — a software Fabergé egg."
The whole review is worth reading in its cringe-inducing, painful entirety.
What were your favourite tech take-downs, gaffes and embarrassments of the last 12 months? Let us know in the comments section below.