Apple has turned a routine refresh of Steve Jobs' obituary into an occasion for a full blown media war, asking Jobs' associates to stonewall the Associated Press and allowing it to be known that they are "furious" about commonplace journalism.
Some poor AP reporter has been calling around to collect quotes from business associates for Jobs' pre-written obituary, according to the New York Post's Page Six. The reporting effort is said to include outreach to record label executives, with whom Jobs negotiated rights to open the iTunes Music Store. "Apple found out about it and asked everyone involved not to give any quotes, although most of those called had already refused," a source told the gossip page, "although most of those called had already refused." Top Apple executives are "furious," the Post added.
Of course, now that Apple's suppression of newsgathering has itself become news, everyone is just reminded all over again of the fragile condition of Jobs' health and the fact that he's on indefinite medical leave, defeating the whole purpose of the PR counteroffensive. Apple should have just thanked the heavens that AP didn't actually release Jobs' obituary, like Bloomberg did in 2008, and called it a day.
[Photo of Jobs at a 2008 Apple event, just after Bloomberg ran the CEO's obituary, via Getty Images]