Rumor sites still costing Apple money

Matt D. and I don’t see eye-to-eye on a lot of things outside the realm of technology. But when it comes to an intense loathing of the rumor sites, which continue to cost Apple money, Matt and I are blood brothers:

Any writer who believed that rumor sites were “cowed” into not reporting items that might adversely affect Apple should have checked the news from Friday, 2005.06.03 – the stuff everyone forgot that same night when CNet broke the Intel story as a done deal. The previous day, AppleInsider reported that Apple was “seemingly overstocked on most iPod models with about a month remaining in its third fiscal quarter.” Attributing the information only to “one source” and “reliable sources of information,” the rumor site said Apple’s sales “appear flat or declining” because none of Apple’s products appears constrained. Yes, read it for yourself – the site said that not having a shortage was, in itself, a sign of weak sales.

Despite both the flimsy sourcing and the site’s complete unawareness of the impending Intel transition, the market acted. To quote Reuters, “Shares of Apple Computer Inc. fell 5% Friday [2005.06.03], fueled by an Internet report of swelling inventory of its iPod digital music players.” When a rumor site can cost Apple’s shareholders 5% of their value in one day by printing an unsourced report based on specious inventory logic, it’s hard to call that being “cowed into silence,” and it just doesn’t have the same ring to say the rumor sites have been “cowed into incompetence.” (If your stock in trade is “inside” or “secret” information, and you have no sources on the biggest Apple-related story of the next two years before the mainstream media does, you’re losing your touch.)
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