“One of the many ironies and contradictions about Apple is that while the company presents this hip, open, cool image to the world, its PR machine is the most secretive, locked-down, hard-assed and disciplined of any company in tech, including IBM. To get a sense of how weird IBM is, consider that one time, while I was waiting for an elevator with a flack at IBM headquarters in Armonk, I asked, just to pass the time, if the guy ever did any jogging. The guy gave me this panicked look and said, ‘Why do you want to know?’
Apple is even weirder than that. They’ve set new records for secrecy and obfuscation and arrogance among tech companies. More important, these are not amateurs. These are hardcore PR people. They know the impression they’re creating when their CEO does an ambush call and then demands to be off the record. Yet they did it. “
I’m liking the real Dan Lyons a whole lot more than I liked the Fake Steve Jobs. In these couple of paragraphs, Lyons states something that’s very rarely said by anyone within the media: Apple’s PR is all about the tightest control-freakery in the business.
It goes way beyond the need to keep new products secret, and into an obsessive attempt to control all aspects of communication about the company. As Lyons says, they are incredibly disciplined, and very, very hard assed.
Lyons hits the nail on the head with his final line, too:
“The unfortunate thing about this arrogance is that no matter how hot a company may be, eventually every company stumbles. Someday Apple will need friends among the hackery. I’m not sure it will have any.”
We’re beginning to see that now, with the stories surrounding the issues with MobileMe, the shambles of the iPhone launch, and so on. Let’s hope that the years of attack-PR which Apple has conducted with the media doesn’t actually come back and bite it too hard.