Flip Floppers: When Tech Execs Contradict Themselves

Doing an about-face on key issues: It's not just for politicians anymore. Tech honchos like Larry Ellison, Eric Schmidt, Steve Ballmer, and even the mighty Steve Jobs engage in it from time to time.

Greatest Tech Flip-Flops

From iPhone antennas to online privacy, every tech story seems to have two sides these days--and tech CEOs are speaking up for both of them. Join us as we round up some of the most notable flip-flops in recent tech-industry history.

Google CEO Eric Schmidt on Privacy

"If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place. But if you really need that kind of privacy, the reality is that search engines, including Google, do retain this information for some time. And we're all subject, in the U.S., to the Patriot Act, and it is possible that that information could be made available to the authorities."
--December 2009

"The reason that you should trust us is that, if we were to violate that trust, people would move immediately to someone else. We're very nonsticky, so we have a very high interest in maintaining the trust of those users."
--July 2010

Video satire: Schmidt's attitude on privacy

Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz on Search

"Search will continue to be an integral part of the Yahoo user experience, and we will continue to integrate search throughout all our properties, and invest in making our user experience even better based on search functionality."
--July 2009, at the announcement of Yahoo's search partnership with Microsoft

"Search isn't what we're after...I don't wake up in the morning and say 'Gosh, what am I going to search?' That's not what I do. I wake up and say, 'What's happening?' And that's really what Yahoo is."
--September 2009

Bartz: Yahoo developing content optimization service

Apple CEO Steve Jobs on Admitting Mistakes

"Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations."

"This is life in the smartphone world. Phones aren't perfect. It's a challenge for the whole industry, and we're doing the best we can, but every phone has weak spots."
--July 2010, after waiting 22 days to admit (sort of) that Apple made mistakes in designing antennas for the iPhone 4. Teardown: Apple Steve Jobs

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison on Cloud Computing

"What the hell is cloud computing? I guess we'll make some 'cloud computing' announcements...I'm not going to fight this thing. I don't know what we'd do differently in the light of 'cloud computing' other than change the wording on some of our ads."
--September 2008

"We believe the cloud is a platform where you run a wide variety of's a comprehensive development and execution environment that can run virtually all your applications."
--September 2010, during Oracle OpenWorld keynote

Larry Ellison in pictures: It's good to be the king CEO Marc Benioff on Oracle and Larry Ellison

"Where the world is going and where Larry [Ellison] is going are in conflict."
--September 2008

"Larry is my mentor. They are a vendor to us. We have a great relationship with them."
--December 2010 Teardown: Oracle CEO Larry Ellison

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Privacy

"We need to give people complete control over their information, which will actually enable more sharing...Giving the control is what allows that sharing to take place."
-_March 2008

"People have really gotten comfortable not only sharing more information and different kinds, but more openly and with more people. That social norm is just something that has evolved over time, and we decided that these would be the social norms now and we just went for it."
-_January 2010, on Facebook's decision to make user information public by default Teardown: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

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Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer on the iPhone and Windows Phone 7

"There's no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. They may make a lot of money. But if you actually take a look at the 1.3 billion phones that get sold, I'd prefer to have our software in 70 percent of them, than I would to have 2 or 3 percent, which is what Apple might get."
--April 2007

"We were ahead of this game and now we find ourselves number five in the market...We missed a whole cycle."
--June 2010, discussing Windows Mobile Teardown: Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

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