It seems as if all the major IT companies are going bonkers. What’s going on? Is there something in the water?

Think about all the odd behavior that we’ve seen lately. Is there a pattern? To mention just a few, in alphabetical order:

Apple – The master of marketing screwed up. Yes, there is a problem with the iPhone 4 antenna design—an exposed metal antenna is a bad idea, because being touched by a human body changes an antenna’s performance. However, anyone can make a mistake. The real problem was Apple’s bizarre response, which turned a minor hardware issue into a major news story. Stupid.

Google – The company’s unofficial motto is “Don’t Be Evil,” but its plan to bypass net neutrality with a private deal with Verizon seems to be contrary to much of what Google stands for. When you add that to the never-ending series of inquiries about privacy violations and the Street View service, you have to wonder if the folks running the Googleplex are getting delusions of grandeur.

Hewlett-Packard – We may never know the real story behind the forced resignation of CEO Mark Hurd. Was the guy a visionary leader who turned the company around but made a silly mistake on his expense account? Or was he a self-obsessed cost-cutter who was ousted by a board that was looking for an excuse to get rid of him? The story seemingly changes every day. Is scandal the new HP Way?

Microsoft – Canceling its Kin smartphones in June, just 48 days after their introduction, was an incredible admission of failure. But what do you expect when Microsoft is also trying to promote its late-to-market Windows Phone 7 platform? It’s unclear that there was ever a good reason for Microsoft to buy Danger in 2008. What were they thinking, if anything?

Oracle – After being essentially silent for months about its plans for Sun’s open-source software, the company suddenly takes two actions: It kills OpenSolaris, and then it sues Google for violating some patents regarding the use of a Java Virtual Machine inside Android. What’s Larry Ellison up to? Is he trying to monetize his acquisition, or is he doing a favor for his buddy Steve Jobs?

All this makes you wonder if there are any grown-ups minding the store.

Alan Zeichick is editorial director of SD Times. Follow him on Twitter at Read his blog at