How Apple Works the Press

A refugee Apple flack has gone rogue and is now dishing on how the company tries to manipulate the press. Even when bending the truth in the grimy shadows of media relations, Apple uses an immaculate system.

Of course it does. CEO Steve Jobs is as much a detail-oriented obsessive as he is press-hating dissembler. What's surprising is that one of the secretive CEO's former lieutenants would dare break the company's code of silence and explicitly show how the company lays the groundwork for possible intentional distortions. John Matellaro, a former Apple senior marketing manager, has written in the Mac Observer about how the company staged "controlled leaks" of information, such as, in all likelihood, the Wall Street Journal's Monday article on the Apple tablet.

The whole process, Matellaro writes, is orchestrated in a way as to make it easy for Apple to deny that they ever said anything:

The communication is always done in person or on the phone. Never via e-mail. That's so that if there's ever any dispute about what transpired, there's no paper trail to contradict either party's version of the story. Both sides can maintain plausible deniability and simply claim a misunderstanding. That protects Apple and the publication.

Such leaks are typically done to solve problems like an unclosed partner deal, uncertainty over how the public will react to pricing or to dissuade competitors. The goal is never, as far as Matellaro is concerned, never to drive up Apple share prices, as happened after the recent Journal story. Because it's not like Steve Jobs has ever been accused of manipulating stock prices.(Pic: Jobs, announcing the arrival of the iPhone in Germany, September 2007. Getty Images.)