Scandal has rocked the tech world blogosphere this weekend as two damning publications, involving the same person, revealed a lie that made could ruin a software company and tarnish the reputation of a popular tech publication. Randall C. Kennedy, founder of Devil Mountain Software and blogger at InfoWorld, was exposed to be masquerading as Craig Barth, CTO of Devil Mountain, in interviews blasting Microsoft (which Devil Mountain was famous for).
InfoWorld broke the story Sunday morning, publishing a blog entry announcing their dumping of Kennedy and removing all of his past blog posts from their site.
Immediately after that, ZDNet published their expose of Devil Mountain Software, their fake CTO, Kennedy’s impropriety, and questions about the software company’s code and headline-grabbing findings.
Essentially, it appears that Kennedy has built a convoluted web of lies around his fake persona (CTO Barth), his column at InfoWorld, and his non-disclosure of his relationship with IDG (owner of InfoWorld and other publications) – usually the first news outlet to “quote” Barth on breaking news. IDG has since also disavowed Kennedy and dumped all ties with him and Devil Mountain. ZDNet’s sister publication, CNet News, mirrored the story.
TechCrunch‘s Michael Arrington had some rather scathing comments to say about InfoWorld’s handling of the Kennedy fiasco. Pointing out that the public disclosure from InfoWorld came only after apparent prodding by ZDNet to get a quote on their story, Arrington (rather haughtily) points out that his own publication handled a similar situation much better, but gets his facts wrong on how InfoWorld handled it to start with – claiming that the ZDNet article published (“broke”) and forced InfoWorld’s hand.
In the end, however, the point is made that sheisters still exist and, while most aren’t likely to be as complicated as Kennedy’s, the plots created by these individuals can do serious harm to many organizations. In this case, InfoWorld will probably recover, but their reputation has been seriously compromised. Devil Mountain Software is, no doubt, now a dead horse and Kennedy (and his alter-ego Barth) are likely through in the tech world.
Funny, because had Kennedy not felt it necessary to create his CTO ego, all of this would have been avoided as only his company’s software would have been called into question by ZDNet.