Open Letter to Steve Jobs,
Steve, I understand you like to keep your innovative products secret until the moment you personally unveil them at your trade shows. Clearly you’re a master of public relations and marketing, and we all respect you for that. However, just because you make great products and unveil them with such panache doesn’t mean you should sue the press for getting the jump on them.
Now I’m not going to get into the legal arguments hereneither of us are lawyers right? I want to appeal to you as part of the journalistic Yin to your business Yang. We need each other Steve, and you trying to bully us is just unfair, and frankly, pretty ungrateful.
You’ve worked the public into a frenzy over your products, and we as the press are covering that enthusiasm. Your employees and partners send us tips all day long and we, as journalists, cover those tips. That’s what we do!
Sometimes those tips pan out, most times they don’t. It’s all part of the pop and circumstance of the technology industry.
Don’t you think it’s fun that everyone is playing this game of cat and mouse? Don’t you appreciate that people are so obsessed with your work that they launch a site called Think *Secret*? Most companies would love to have this attention, and your response is to sue the press that feeds you?
If you want to sue someone, sue your employees who send us the leaks, or your partners who tip us off. They are the ones who sign agreements with you not to talknot us!
Besides, what’s the harm if one out of every three or four times, the press gets the buzz out before you? Its high drama, and you and the shareholders at Apple are the primary beneficiaries of it.
Do you want to crush the press to the point at which we are too scared to cover you?
It’s quickly getting to that point Steve. Right now I’m thinking about shutting down our Apple siteTUAW.COMout of fear that you’ll crush us with legal bills some day. Perhaps I’ll just have those bloggers work on a Tivo or Jetblue blogyou know, a blog about a cool hip company that won’t sue us for being obsessed with them!
Please tell me why I should risk my life’s work to cover Apple anymore, because I can’t come up with a reason. It just doesn’t seem like you appreciate us any more Steve, and it really hurts.
Do you want to live in a world where we don’t have a rabid press? Sure, the world does not revolve around gadgets, but the principles of a free press should be obvious to a rebel like you. Maybe you’re not a rebel any more, and maybe you listen to lawyers more then you listen to your heart.
Think of all the good the press has done for the world in righting big wrongs, and fighting for the every (hu)man. If that doesn’t change your mind, then just think about how much money you’ve made personally from the press covering you’ve received!
You need to learn to play nice in the sandbox or we’re going to go home and I can tell you, it’s no fun playing alone.
Jason McCabe Calacanis