Sunday, January 14, 2007

How Does Apple Get Such Bad Press?

Apple scored a PR coup this week but in true Hegelian fashion the iPhone rocks thesis was quickly followed by the iPod sucks antithesis. (no keyboard, slow EDGE network, CingularAT&T, closed system, maybe no Flash, etc. and, of course, Apple's DRM lock-in)

This morning in The New York Times Randall Stross talks about the DRM lock-in that is part and parcel of the iPod brand. Cory Doctorow labels it the Roach Motel business model. ("customers check in but they can't check out").

There's another round of Apple-beating-up-on-bloggers stories. And Dave Winer examines some of the mechanisms that Apple uses to ensure favorable coverage.

Much of what Apple does comes out of the standard PR playbook. Offer access; expect coverage. Nobody asks for favorable coverage. It just happens. (If it doesn't happen, you may not be asked back.) The same dynamic is at play with Woodward and his first two book on Bush and the war, Scoble on the Edwards announcement tour, Vista on Phoenix laptops for bloggers, and every negotiated celebrity cover story on magazines from Vanity Fair to Rolling Stone. Of course, the bigger the star, the more the leverage—because the bigger the star, the better for circulation, (or page views). And Apple is a huge star with a devoted fan base.

On CNN this morning, Howard Kurtz asked Steven Levy (author of a book on iPod and one of the few star tech reporters to get an interview with Steve Jobs) about Journalists being afraid to criticize Apple.
LEVY: Well, that's right. I think there might be some of that.

I try to avoid that. In my book I refer to Apple's suing bloggers as thinking different about the First Amendment. So I am critical in some cases. On the other hand, I do like the iPod, as millions of people do. And when something deserves to be praised, I think you have to praise it.

Apple has gotten a lot of ink about the options problem it's in now, and I think this is sort of the other side of the good publicity they get when something bad happens. You k now, right now Apple is in the middle of a, you know, options imbroglio.

They're going to get more coverage because of that. And quite possibly, prosecutors are going to take more interest in pursuing them because of that. So there's a flip side to this good publicit

Mickeleh's Take: Kurtz said he'd reserve judgment, "until I see how these phones actually work." But at the same time he reminded his viewers that he, too, was in Apple's pocket. "And speaking of iPods, you can now download a video podcast of this very show at" Onscreen, an image of Howard Kurtz, champion of journalistic integrity and skepticism was framed by an iPod. The journalists are still big. It's their pictures that got small.

During the entire segment, which also featured Robin Liss, the b-roll was a virtual non-stop commercial for iPod now and future.

Ethan Kaplan has the best take on all of this: Enough already!

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Anonymous said...

No one that I've seen has mentioned how much the Cingular monthly bill will be!

Michael Markman said...

I haven't seen that either. They've announced a two-year contract is required, but they haven't announced the monthly.