Saturday, 4 October 2008

Steve Jobs : Back from the dead

Apple fans, tech aficionados, corporate trackers and Internet readers all over the world were crestfallen when they read about an obituary of tech czar Steve Jobs which was fired by financial newswire Bloomberg to its subscribers.

Had the man who reinvented himself, a moribund Apple Inc, and just about every rule in the game of personal electronics with iPod, and then in telecom with iPhone, finally lost his battle with pancreatic cancer?

No, the man was alive and kicking even as a red-faced Bloomberg -- usually sharpshooters when it comes to financial news -- had missed the mark by miles.

The gaffe happened when the American agency decided to update its 17-page stock obituary on Steve Jobs, and someone accidentally published it in the process. The story, which was meant to be sent to Bloomberg's internal wire, accidentally slipped out to its subscribers. And all hell broke loose!

The story that ran 'Hold for release' - 'Do not use' couldn't actually have been stopped as it was simply too big for global financial markets. The jitters subsided later when the agency promptly retracted it.

The story was titled “Steve Jobs, Apple Co-Founder, Arbitrator of Cool Technology, XXXX” and had a byline of editor Connie Guglielmo. The obituary had marked blank spaces for Jobs's age and cause of death to be filled in. It traced his life, achievements and surprisingly had quotes from rivals like Microsoft's ex-chairman Bill Gates.

As it transpired, Jobs was clearly hale and hearty, even though he has previously battled pancreatic cancer, raising inevitable concerns over his health.

Gossip website, was one of those which picked up the obituary and published it, from where it was picked up by many blogging sites. Later, it also printed the retraction by Bloomberg, including the original notes, which was quick to come by.

Bloomberg editors Joe Winski and Cesca Antonelli sent out an apology of an apology: "An incomplete story referencing Apple Inc was inadvertently published by Bloomberg News. The item was never meant for publication and has been retracted.”

Though no major harm was done: Few people recoiled in horror, fewer still gasped as the mainstream media seemed to have missed the little ‘devil’ of a news. And no, Apple stock did not crash!

But the Internet media was quick to lap up the gaffe, and announce tongue in cheek, that Apple's iconic CEO had clearly come back from the "virtual jaws of death", an euphemism that succinctly outlines the harsh competition permeating modern journalism.

Though common journalistic practices involve preparing obituaries of famous personalities, celebrities and politicians, but this has been the biggest goof-up of its kind in the annals of world journalism.

The incident did serve as a reminder about people’s worries over Jobs' health in the past few years.

This is the reproduction of a part of much-talked about ‘obituary’ that Bloomberg sent out accidentally.



Steve Jobs's birthday: Feb. 24, 1955

BIO UPDATED AS OF 2008, by Connie Guglielmo

APPLE PR CONTACTS: Katie Cotton — -redacted- and Steve Dowling: -redacted- or -redacted-
People to contact for comment:
- Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak: -redacted-
- Jon Rubinstein, former head of Apple's iPod division. He's now
chairman at Palm. Contact Lynn Fox in PR.
- Heidi Roizen: venture capitalist who once dated Jobs: -redacted- or -redacted-. Heidi knows a lot of Silicon

Valley insiders and may put us in touch with others, including
A C Mike Markkula, the first VC to back Apple.
- Larry Ellison of Oracle (one of his best friends); contact
Deborah Hellinger in Oracle PR. -redacted-, -redacted-

- Jerry Brown (personal friend) and California AG. Try GARETH
LACY at -redacted- IN OAKLAND; -redacted- CELL, -redacted- or press office: -redacted-

- Al Gore: member of Apple's board of directors
- Bill Gates: Microsoft was among the first developers of Mac
- Bob Iger at Disney: who bought Pixar from Jobs
- Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google and member of Apple's board. Send
note to -redacted- or try David Krane: -redacted- or -redacted-

- Paul Otellini, CEO of Intel Corp (Apple began using Intel
chips in its Macs in 2006). Contact Tom Beermann: -redacted- or
Bill Calder on -redacted-. Both in Intel PR
- Scott McNealy, co-founder of Sun Microsystems. Contact Shawn
Dainas in PR: -redacted-
- John Lassiter and Ed Catmull: Pixar-nee-Disney executives. Try
Zenia Mucha, -redacted- or Jonathan Friedland, -redacted-, in
corporate PR at Disney.
- Guy Kawasaki, one of the first Apple evangelists -redacted- or -redacted-

- Nolan Bushnell, founder of Atari, who bought an early circuit
board for the game Breakout from Jobs and Wozniak. (pr is being
handled by his daughter, Alisa Bushnell. her cell is: -redacted-; work is -redacted- work/message;-redacted-)