Former Apple marketing manager describes company's 'controlled leaks'

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
As vague "unidentified sources" continue to leak information about Apple's forthcoming tablet device, the company's former marketing manager has revealed supposed secrets on how the Cupertino, Calif., company operates.



John Martellaro provided an analysis for The Mac Observer this week, giving insight into how Monday's leak on the tablet might have been given to The Wall Street Journal. Earlier this week, the paper reported that Apple will unveil its touchscreen tablet this month, and release it for sale in March.



According to Martellaro, the story "had all the earmarks of a controlled leak." As a former senior marketing manager at Apple, he said he was told to leak information in the past.



He said a senior company executive would ask him to release specific information to a trusted person at a major media outlet. Martellaro claims he was asked to "idly mention" the information in a telephone conversation, and to suggest to a reporter that publishing it would be "nice." E-mail correspondence was not allowed.



"The communication is always done in person or on the phone. Never via e-mail," he said. "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."



The Journal's top technology commentator, Walt Mossberg, was bypassed, Martellaro alleged, to allow him to remain "above the fray." In addition, the story was leaked late Monday, after the stock market closed, so no one could suggest there was an attempt to manipulate Wall Street.



Martellaro suggested there are a number of reasons Apple could have chosen to leak the information on Monday. They include, in his words:



to light a fire under a recalcitrant partner

to float the idea of the US$1,000 price point and gauge reaction

to panic/confuse a potential competitor about whom Apple had some knowledge

to whet analyst and observer expectations to make sure the right kind and number of people show up at the (presumed) January 26 event. Apple hates empty seats and demands SRO at these events

While Apple sometimes leaks information to its advantage, it also goes to great lengths to control what is publicly said, and when. Apple's tight-lipped nature was profiled last year by the New York Times, which said the company's veil of secrecy began to take shape around the release of the original Macintosh back in 1984.



One employee said that employees working on secret projects at Apple must "pass through a maze of security doors, swiping their badges again and again and finally entering a numeric code to reach their offices." Once inside the top-secret areas, employees are often monitored by surveillance cameras as they work. Those working with the most sensitive projects are allegedly instructed to "cover up devices with black cloaks when they are working on them, and turn on a red warning light when devices are unmasked so that everyone knows to be extra-careful."



Last month, one report highlighted Apple's supposed "Worldwide Loyalty Team," which are claimed to be a group of moles that spy on people and report directly to co-founder Steve Jobs and Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer. When an employee is suspected of a leak, the source claimed that they are under a "gag order" that involves the confiscation of cell phones and a total blackout of all unmonitored communication.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 50
    Yeah, but what this guy fails to address is, why Apple is able to do it successfully, and others are not. It's much more than just a yen for secrecy or playing media games.
  • Reply 2 of 50
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,576member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    While Apple sometimes leaks information to its advantage, it also goes to great lengths to control what is publicly said, and when. Apple's tight-lipped nature was profiled last year by the New York Times, which said the company's veil of secrecy began to take shape around the release of the original Macintosh back in 1984.



    This comes as no surprise. I am sure the Apple Hype that precedes every new announcement is fuelled to a large degree by the Apple marketing team. The fact that Apple goes to such an extent to guard its new wares makes perfect sense - for one it ups the info stakes considerably, any rumor is now big news, and secondly and definitely most importantly - by controlling the information Apple controls the hype machine. It would be interesting to see some kind of number on the many many millions of dollars worth of free marketing Apple has been handed through endless speculative rumor editorials. I mean, look at us! ;-)
  • Reply 3 of 50
    al_bundyal_bundy Posts: 1,525member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post


    Yeah, but what this guy fails to address is, why Apple is able to do it successfully, and others are not. It's much more than just a yen for secrecy or playing media games.





    everyone does it



    Palm did it with the Pre, so did Verizon about the Pre and the iPhone. a lot of people holding out on the hope that the iPhone comes to Verizon
  • Reply 4 of 50
    why doesn't AI just copy and paste the ENTIRE source article? I mean, either simply link it or simply copy and paste the whole thing. If AI was a legitimate news outlet, they'd be cited for plagiarism left and right. Stop with the mock "journalism" already!
  • Reply 5 of 50
    nebrienebrie Posts: 483member
    Meh, sounds more or less like any other big company I've worked at with projects they don't want competitors to know about.
  • Reply 6 of 50
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 29,756member
    This is exactly why I would laugh until tears streamed down my face if there was no tablet. Would be a brilliant move to force the hands of all of the potential e-book reader manufacturers, then once all is known to Apple they simply have to refine their options before their next product release. Ingenious. And to think, Ballmer is about to make a complete fool of himself tonight with his keynote. Oh, boy... I can't wait.
  • Reply 7 of 50
    axualaxual Posts: 244member
    Tell us something we don't know ...
  • Reply 8 of 50
    old-wizold-wiz Posts: 194member
    Wonder if the people monitoring the security cameras use them as an opportunity to look down cleavage? Or do they report people who pick their noses while working?
  • Reply 9 of 50
    Every year this content is pimped somewhere.
  • Reply 10 of 50
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post


    This is exactly why I would laugh until tears streamed down my face if there was no tablet. Would be a brilliant move to force the hands of all of the potential e-book reader manufacturers, then once all is known to Apple they simply have to refine their options before their next product release. Ingenious. And to think, Ballmer is about to make a complete fool of himself tonight with his keynote. Oh, boy... I can't wait.



    i would love it if there were no tablet...would just make a mockery out of ballmer (even bigger one...) after his big courier announcement...
  • Reply 11 of 50
    takeotakeo Posts: 415member
    If this wasn't a corporation... it would be accused of being a cult. LOL. Total control, surveillance, security. Sworn loyalty to the head Guru. Etc.
  • Reply 12 of 50
    Not really surprised at all... the hype surrounding this tablet has been off the charts, and I'm sure Apple loves every minute of it.



    Question is, can they deliver a product that lives up to all the hype? I'm sure it'll be a quality product, but at this point it sounds more like a content delivery tool. Personally, I'd rather see an Arrandale MacBook Pro with a little more mobile oomph for producing content.
  • Reply 13 of 50
    This happens with all sorts of companies and the governments all over the planet. See what kind of hype you can get going. Best of all for Apple is it costs nothing for it.
  • Reply 14 of 50
    mactrippermactripper Posts: 1,328member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleStud View Post


    why doesn't AI just copy and paste the ENTIRE source article? I mean, either simply link it or simply copy and paste the whole thing. If AI was a legitimate news outlet, they'd be cited for plagiarism left and right. Stop with the mock "journalism" already!





    There is a link on the original article, also a lot of Mac sites work with each other, link back and forth etc.



    Don't worry about it, everyone is getting hit traffic.
  • Reply 15 of 50
    kibitzerkibitzer Posts: 1,113member
    Just imagine how many Kindles, Nooks and other e-readers are going unsold due to Apple's successful leak strategy! Lots of people who are interested in buying an e-reader (my wife is one) are holding off to see if Apple is going to come up with something better and more versatile.
  • Reply 16 of 50
    It's called business people. That's how companies operate. Scratch that. That's how organizations operate, even government (which does it to either diffuse population anger or to simply test the waters).



    Am I the only one who doesn't see this as all that secret or all that monumental? As I must reiterate, if you have a vision, you can't compromise. Apple's secrecy or Nazi-like hold on it's products, information, and yes, even employees is necessary for it to produce the products it produces. As soon as you start letting others dictate things, yes even the smallest of things, your vision becomes compromised...



    And as an aside, I had to look up 'recalcitrant.' Kudos marketing guy.
  • Reply 17 of 50
    Polar315, I just read your signature "I asked Microsoft what they could do to make Snow Leopard look even better. Then, out comes Windows 7. I'm a Mac and Windows 7 was my idea" ?lmao, that's hilarious
  • Reply 18 of 50
    macinthe408macinthe408 Posts: 1,050member
    How do Apple janitors do their job?



    If I earned $12/hour emptying trash cans, you bet I'd sell iTablet photos for $100 a pop.
  • Reply 19 of 50
    al_bundyal_bundy Posts: 1,525member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post


    This is exactly why I would laugh until tears streamed down my face if there was no tablet. Would be a brilliant move to force the hands of all of the potential e-book reader manufacturers, then once all is known to Apple they simply have to refine their options before their next product release. Ingenious. And to think, Ballmer is about to make a complete fool of himself tonight with his keynote. Oh, boy... I can't wait.





    not that easy



    a lot of iphone OS 3.1 was written before 3 came out and the last 2 months were just to finish up a few features. it takes a long time to design a product and code the OS and software. then it takes months to QA it and get it ready for manufacture and get all the regulatory approvals
  • Reply 20 of 50
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post


    This is exactly why I would laugh until tears streamed down my face if there was no tablet. Would be a brilliant move to force the hands of all of the potential e-book reader manufacturers, then once all is known to Apple they simply have to refine their options before their next product release. Ingenious. And to think, Ballmer is about to make a complete fool of himself tonight with his keynote. Oh, boy... I can't wait.



    It's too late for that now. I think it's all but assumed today that Apple will release a tablet. If not, their stock price will nosedive and that is far more significant than throwing egg on SB's face.
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