July 28, 2010

The Power Of Old Media

At the beginning of July, before Apple offered the world free "bumpers,"  I wrote a post called Apple Playing With Fire.

The thrust of the post was that Apple had better deal with its antenna problem. At the time, Apple was doing its usual stonewall.

Then something happened. As The New York Times reported, on July 18th...
The iPhone’s antenna problems might have remained a dust-up between Apple fanboys and skeptical bloggers except that Consumer Reports — that stolid, old-media tester of everything from flooring to steam mops for the last 74 years — came out with a report detailing the issue and concluding that “due to this problem, we can’t recommend the iPhone 4.”
Although the web had been teeming with hysterical howling about "antennagate" nothing much happened until Consumer Reports weighed in.

According to Steve Jobs...
“We were stunned and upset and embarrassed by the Consumer Reports stuff..."
The conventional wisdom is that companies today need to be more conscious of quality issues because social media spreads the word about problems in an instant. However, it is clear that in this case it was the credibility of old media that moved a company to action, not the shrill ravings of web maniacs.

While the web may provide us with instant opinions and musings, it is clear that it still lacks gravitas.

The web version of "the news" is often unreliable and held in contempt, even among the most tech-savvy.

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