Apple Forgets Its Own History

by

Scott McGrewBecause I work with many corporations when covering business news, I spend a great deal of time dealing with public relations agents. Some are very helpful and media savvy, others don’t seem to understand what purpose they serve. Either way, in big companies they are the first people I have to deal with before talking to the real story makers. Getting past them is critical.

A few years ago, The Wall Street Journal had an excellent “behind the scenes” article about its reporters trying to deal with PR offices. I have Googled it but not found it. The gist was their reporters did a very complimentary article about one car rental chain — and ignored its competitors — simply because a helpful PR office said “you can talk to whoever in the company you wish.” The competitor never returned phone calls.

Truly one of my most unusual experiences dealing with PR involves Apple Computer.

I had been writing a story about a garage band, and thought it would be fun to point out that in Silicon Valley, we’re better known for starting companies in garages, not music groups.

“HP” I wrote, “started in a garage in Palo Alto. Apple started in a garage in…” Huh. Cupertino, right? Or was it Sunnyvale?

I called Apple.

“We don’t know” was the response.

“What do you mean?” I asked, confused. “That doesn’t make sense. Surely, someone there knows in what city the company was founded.”

“We will get back to you” I was told.

The next day I got an email that read “Scott, our corporate timeline does not show the location of the garage. We are sorry we could not provide more details.”

That email got printed out and for years enjoyed a prominent spot on my cubicle wall.

Scott McGrew
NBC11 Business & Tech Reporter

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