Wired writes about the hypocritical approach Apple has been adopting lately to stifle early news on its forthcoming products. Anyone who is remotely interested in a Mac products jolly well knows the rumor-mill culture that surrounds each Apple release. In fact, Apple thrives on this culture to create a buzz before product release, making Microsoft wish that they could buy all that buzz with the billions they have. Does Apple cash on that buzz in a positive manner? Nope, they in fact go on the offensive against college freshmen, who have been nothing but loyal to the Macintosh brand. Think Secret, a website run by Harvard freshman Nick Ciarelli was slapped with a lawsuit threatening legal sanction and punitive damages after the website correctly guessed the release of Mac Mini, iPod Shuffle, iLife ’05 with GarageBand 2.
Steve Jobs, widely known for his dictatorial ways is tolerated because of the amazing success he brings to Apple. But I am guessing he is a shrewd businessman, more than anything else. Recently, he “banned” his unofficial biography, iCon: The Greatest Second Act in History of Business by removing the books from all Apple stores. Sources close to Apple contend that they were offended by the title, iCon, which seems to suggest that Steve Jobs is a con artist, manipulating consumers into buying Apple’s products (isn’t marketing really just that?). Really? I thought it was an interesting play of words using Apple’s famed “I” prefix and the word “icon”. Heck, I even admit that my domain name, iPatrix.com is also inspired from Apple products like iMac, iPod, iLife, etc. Is Steve Jobs coming after me next? I suspect he understands the truth in the adage that no publicity is bad publicity and is simply drumming up interest and buzz about Apple’s product releases and his ‘unofficial’ biography. The fact that even I am writing about this is proof.
But if you consider the unintended consequences of Apple’s recent action, they haven’t gained much in terms of good will and loyalty, their key assets amongst Mac users. They are increasingly appearing as some revenue- and power-hungry corporation, going after the little guy, who in fact is their biggest fan. People like Steve Jobs who in fact epitomize icons should not act in ways that demean them.