Dissecting Fast Company’s recent Apple FUD-fest

Near the end of November, Adam L. Penenberg scrawled out a doozy of an Apple FUD-fest for Fast Company.

We covered it here: FUD Alert: Fast Company publishes Apple hit piece – November 27, 2007

Now, Daring Fireball’s John Gruber takes an enjoyable crack at dissecting Penenberg’s article with “Yet Another in the Ongoing Series Wherein I Examine a Piece of Supposedly Serious Apple Analysis From a Major Media Outlet and Dissect Its Inaccuracies, Fabrications, and Exaggerations Point-by-Point, Despite the Fact That No Matter How Egregious the Inaccuracies / Fabrications / Exaggerations, Such Pieces Inevitably Lead to Accusations That I’m Some Sort of Knee-Jerk Shill Who Rails Against Anything ‘Anti-Apple’ Simply for the Sake of Defending Apple, and if I Love Apple So Much Why Don’t I Just Marry Them? – December 19, 2007

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Linux Guy And Mac Prodigal Son” for the heads up.]


  1. I think it’s the other way around. Apple is laying seige to all of these other companies.


    “Yet this is also a dangerous moment for Apple. In a way the company has never seen, the barbarians are massing at the gates.”

    Funny, I seem to remember not so long ago that Apple was nearly out of business completely. So having people try to catch up with your market leading innovations are more dangerous than going completely out of business?

  2. Wow, what a title.

    What is that saying? Something about the facts not mattering.

    “Not the nature of the facts, but the seriousness of the charge, that matters”?

    Kinda like mentioning in passing Obama’s ancient drug use? Or Satan and Jesus being squabbling siblings?

    It’s the mud that sticks that matters. Be sure to wear your goggles on the net.

  3. @Steve Better…

    He’s right. These kind of reports are growing and growing. New ones every day.

    Where’s there smoke…

    Examples galore such as new iMac disaster, premature, very premature Leopard, way too clever iPhone ‘rebates’ to early adopters, iMovie knife in the back, deliberate poor screen for iPod Touch, and on and on.

    Biggest lie gets bigger: Boom! It just works.

  4. Couldn’t finish the article. John Gruber is every bit as reactionary as MDN is, and as his critics make him out to be. Which doesn’t make him wrong, just a bit tiresome after a while.
    About the “House of Jobs” and similar comments … AFAIK Fast Company has that right. Apple had the same talented engineers in house while Jobs was “away” and the product went down-hill. Oh, the hardware was fine, and so was the software, but the vision was lost. It was like seeing Apple emulate Dell, without the loss of quality. Jobs’ non-technical “vision” is what makes Apple great, rather than just “excellent”.
    As for the original article … FUD doesn’t do it justice. <u>FUD</u> at least LOOKS like it does the trick. Un-be-freaking-believable! Still Gruber should have been able to home in on the salient points without wasting his time – and ours – dealing with things that are so inconsequential.

  5. I agree that John’s stylistic criticisms were a little much, but he makes a salient point – that the article is written in a “Hollywood Blockbuster” style. Which isn’t surprising if you read the author’s biography. You would then learn that while he is a journalism professor, he also has written investigative books, one of which is currently being turned into a Hollywood movie.

    So Adam knows how to amp(ar) up a story, to add a little sizzle, and make it seem more like a big story. My problem (and I think John Gruber’s) is the gross level of ignorance shown by the author about his subject. It’s as though he only talked to a few analysts as clueless as he is, read a few fluff pieces about Apple from the mainstream press, and then proceeded to concoct his thesis using mumbo-jumbo with a little knowledge thrown in on top.

    Actually, Gruber probably doesn’t go far enough in his refutations, because virtually every sentence in Adam’s piece is rife with bad suppositions, blatantly wrong facts, or wildly misleading statements of opinion from the author or his couple of analysts. Stylistically, it reads like a very polished, authoritative article. But factually speaking, it’s a shoot-from-the-hip load of beans, and as far as the thesis or “slant” of the article, it’s clearly trying too hard to be a clever investigative piece.

    I wrote the author a long analysis of my own, giving him a level-headed (if windy) take on his writing, and suggesting that he either a) find a real story, there are several good nuggets buried in his piece waiting for a REAL exposé .. or b) to not try so hard to make something out of nothing, and at least do some factual research to back up the claims he makes.

    This from a journalism professor… it’s pretty sad. Clearly the message to his students is that if you can get a best-selling book on the market and sign a Hollywood deal, you now have a lot more license to write authoritatively without regard to facts.

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