News Column

Best Silicon Valley Business Quotes of 2012

January 2, 2013

Patrick May

All across Silicon Valley, the past year was filled practically to the brim with killer quotes out of the mouths of (reality TV show) babes, billionaires and budding entrepreneurs.

We had deep thoughts from CEOs playing musical chairs, embarrassing mea culpas from corporate chieftains and whining from startup celebrities with too much twittering time on their hands. All in all, we couldn't have said it better ourselves.

Here are some of our favorite sound bites from a well-chewed year.

"Silicon Valley is high school, except it's only the smart kids, and everyone has a lot of money." -- Kim Taylor, entrepreneur and cast member of "Startups: Silicon Valley," Bravo's critically disdained reality TV show

produced by Mark Zuckerberg's sister Randi and highlighting the lives of aspiring tech superstars

"Instagram has no intention of selling your photos, and we never did. We don't own your photos -- you do." -- Kevin Systrom, co-founder of the popular and now Facebook-owned photo-social app, in a blog post apologizing to outraged users for the insensitive way the service announced updates to its terms of service agreement.

"I believe Larry Ellison will bring a new and fresh perspective to the island and its people." -- David Murdock, the Los

Angeles billionaire who controls Dole Food Co. on his sale to Oracle (ORCL) founder Larry Ellison of pretty much the entire Hawaiian island of Lanai. Estimated price tag: $500 million???

"The wealth from our family came from Microsoft, so why would we invest in a competitor?" -- Melinda Gates, philanthropist and wife of Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, on British radio in reference to her kids having asked her for Apple (AAPL) products. Instead, she said, they will be receiving "Windows technology."

"The thing that surprised me is that the job is really fun ... and the baby's been easy. The baby's been way easier than everyone made it out to be. I've been really lucky that way." -- Newly minted Yahoo (YHOO) CEO Marissa

Mayer, speaking at Fortune's Most Powerful Women event in November about the two new loves of her life -- her work gig and her first child, son Macallister Bogue. She returned to the former just two weeks after having delivered the latter on Sept. 30.

"Others have tried to make tablets smaller than the iPad, and they've failed miserably. These are not great experiences." -- Apple's marketing guru Phil Schiller in October as his company unveiled its mini iPad, which he obviously believes offers an insanely great experience.

"What's a better story (than) millionaire madman on the run? You, the media, saved my (expletive deleted) because you paid attention to the story. As long as you are reporting, it is hard to whack somebody that the world is watching." -- Eccentric millionaire and rabid publicity-hound John McAfee, speaking to ABC News after dodging authorities trying to question him about the death of his expat American neighbor in Belize. McAfee founded the anti-virus software company bearing his name.

"We are extremely sorry for the frustration this has caused our customers and we are doing everything we can to make Maps better." -- Apple CEO Tim Cook, apologizing for the company's new and much-criticized mapping app.

There is "nothing seriously wrong with me." -- Google (GOOG) CEO Larry Page in an email reportedly reassuring employees after rumors swirled about an unspecified condition affecting his voice. Whatever it was, it caused the Google co-founder to sit out the annual shareholders meeting in June and remain out of the public spotlight for months last summer.

"Well, the performance of the stock has obviously been disappointing." -- Facebook CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, shortly after the company made its historic and car-crash-ugly IPO in May. The stock lost half its value as investors became increasingly anxious about the social network's ability to make money from mobile advertising.



Source: (c) 2013 the San Jose Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.) Distributed by MCT Information Services