commentary Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson will likely come to regret his decision to declare a patent war against Facebook. Even if Yahoo does manage to win its case in the courts, he won't be sticking around to savor the victory.
The former PayPal president is under attack by Yahoo investors and the tech world for allegedly inflating his college credentials. His official Yahoo bio said he earned a bachelor's degree in accounting and computer science from Stonehill College, when he only has an accounting degree from his alma mater.
Yahoo called the issue an "inadvertent error" before removing any mention of Thompson's alma mater from his public bio. However, the Yahoo board has now decided to review the matter after it was revealed that Thompson apparently had made the same "inadvertent error" at eBay.
The addition of a phantom computer science degree to his resume may simply be a mistake somebody else made that has traveled with him since his days at eBay. It could also be a deliberate deception that he used to rise up the ranks early in his career. Whatever the case, Yahoo investors and the tech world are out for Thompson's blood.
The discrepancy in Thompson's college record was first pointed out by Dan Loeb, CEO of hedge fund Third Point and an activist Yahoo shareholder who would love nothing more than to see the entire company's leadership swept away. The matter has escalated, however, thanks to a tech industry that feels betrayed by Thompson's decision to launch a patent war against Facebook. The tech industry doesn't like patent trolls.
The hapless company: Yahoo goes from mishap to catastrophe, all self-inflicted dthin.gs/J3urxB— Eric Hippeau (@erichippeau) May 3, 2012
Wait, I'm confused, so the Yahoo CEO never appeared on CSI?— Hunter Walk (@hunterwalk) May 4, 2012
A misunderstanding about Thompson's college credentials is something he could possibly overcome, if the entire tech industry weren't out for his head. Instead, the tech elite are beginning to call for Thompson to step aside, and that chorus will only grow. You can be sure things would have turned out differently if Yahoo had never sued Facebook -- the industry sees this as an opportunity to take out a threat.
Karma has come back to kick Scott Thompson to the curb. Even if he survives this ordeal, the entire industry will find another controversy that will bring him down. Thompson's days as Yahoo CEO are numbered.