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An Apple Smear



March 22, 2007 – Comments (8)

Original is here.



I'm shocked, shocked, to find out that a company as warm and cozy as Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) might be implicated in brass-knuckle tactics to discredit a couple of researchers who had the audacity to stick a pin in the pleasant "Macs have no security vulnerabilities" bubble. Apple seems to be actively promoting this fantasy, to the extent of leaning on said researchers in order to get them to keep quiet about the problem.


There's a large and tangled web here, but according to ZD Net's George Ou, the effort to smear the computer security researchers was led by none other than Apple PR director Lynn Fox, aided and abetted by the brittle, easily fooled iSheep at Slashdot and Digg. (Interesting how "Web 2.0" -- which was supposed to free us all from top-down data control by the rich and powerful -- is turning out to be such a great way for the rich and powerful to spread specious FUD.)


Tough to comprehend? Hardly. This comes from a company that's proven to be unbelievably adept at marketing, beginning with its adoption of the MP3 player technology that others pioneered, and the successful creation of the mass fiction that it invented the concept. In short, image control is paramount for the iEmpire.


This is, after all, the same company that whitewashed a large options-backdating scandal, giving a free pass to CEO Steve Jobs for the bogus excuse that he didn't understand the accounting implications. It's the company that famously fired a customer support rep for an amusing (but irreverent) poem about annoying customer calls and love for the FedEx woman.


In other words, a high-level counterinsurgency campaign against a couple of security researchers -- if that's what we've got here -- would look like business as usual for Apple.


At the time of publication, Seth Jayson had no positions in any company mentioned here. See his latest blog commentary here. View his stock holdings and Fool profile here. Fool rules are here.


8 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On March 22, 2007 at 2:12 PM, dscholle (61.17) wrote:

Alot of bluster for almost no hard facts.  I don't understand how firing a frivolous support rep who embarrassed the company made Apple evil.

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#2) On March 22, 2007 at 2:17 PM, TMFBent (99.29) wrote:

Give me a call back when you're fired for joking about your job, and we'll discuss it again.

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#3) On March 22, 2007 at 2:43 PM, macfreaky (< 20) wrote:

Wow! One Bad Employee Has Fired From Apple! WoW!
This guy crying in internet, he was a counterproductive man, be sure for this.

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#4) On March 22, 2007 at 2:52 PM, TMFBent (99.29) wrote:

Miss the point much? That's merely one example of what looks like a fairly ruthless, take-no-prisoners approach by Apple to squelch anything that seems to tarnish the iImage.


Ask yourself this: If Microsoft were orchestrating a PR campaign, planting articles, and otherwise trying to smear people who relevealed windows flaws, would you react the same way?



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#5) On March 22, 2007 at 2:55 PM, HomerBufflekill (< 20) wrote:

The engineer in question tells his side of the story.

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#6) On March 23, 2007 at 1:12 PM, timyu (< 20) wrote:

I wouldn't get in a fluff about the Ou article, which is all bluster and conspiracy theory.  I've read much of that author's blog and I'm sorry to say he's utterly incompetent.  If you're interested, do a google search for "Ou + macalope" or "Ou + gruber" for some countercommentary.  

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#7) On March 23, 2007 at 1:40 PM, TMFBent (99.29) wrote:

I know Mac fans don't like George, but I find his work to be very competent. The old "google search" as proof only finds more of the same double-speak from mac partisans who are amusingly driven to insanity over the idea that their chosen platform may not be as bullet proof as they wish it to be.

It's fascinating to see how consumers hew to a brand name like this. Jim Jones could not have done better.

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#8) On March 28, 2007 at 1:30 PM, dsquid (< 20) wrote:

Looks like Microsoft isn't above petty behavior either:


Anyway, it's fine and all that you consider Ou competent and Gruber a double-speaking partisan.  I just see little here to support either position.

I think we've identified at least one partisan here today.



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