Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Apple news alert!: Alaskan seafood delivered to your home

PR Newswire, a major press release distribution service, blew it big time today on one of the most important tech news stories of the year.
About 4:30 p.m. Eastern time, trading in Apple’s stock was halted pending a news announcement. These types of alerts are always big news – a huge acquisition, a change in leadership, a scandal, etc.
Journalists around the world held their breath, waiting for an electronic news release to pop up on their screen. Most assumed it had something to do with Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs, who has been in poor health.
Then, at 4:38 p.m. Eastern, the news we’d all been waiting for popped into my Outlook inbox. The e-mail from PR Newswire had the subject line “Apple Media Advisory.”
OK, this is it, I said to myself.
I clicked on the e-mail to see the news the world had been waiting for.
What the heck?
“Holland America Line Serves Up Authentic Alaska Cruise Souvenir,” the headline read.
Did Apple buy a cruise line? I read on.
“Guests who cruise in Alaska can relive the culinary experience of the Great Land with Fresh Ketch, an Alaskan seafood feast delivered at home for friends and family to enjoy. The innovative ‘home excursion’ brings a taste of Alaska home through a partnership with seafood specialists, Alaska Fresh Ketch.”
Huh? Is this the special diet that Jobs had talked about to counter his hormone imbalance and severe weight loss?
“Fresh Ketch serves up the ultimate in Alaskan souvenirs – wild Alaskan king salmon, halibut, smoked salmon and king crab,” the press release said.
Sounds delicious. But what has this got to do with Apple?
Absolutely nothing.
At 5:02 p.m. Eastern, PR Newswire sent out the correct news release with a note.
“Please disregard the Holland America release you received earlier. PR Newswire sent the release in error and regrets any inconvenience this may have caused,” it said.
Attached was the actual Apple news.
Jobs announced that he is taking a medical leave of absence until the end of June. He said his health issues are “more complex” than he originally thought. He said he would still remain involved as CEO on major strategic decisions, but that Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook would be responsible for Apple’s day-to-day operations.
Now about that salmon …
(Photo credits: AP for Steve Jobs at Macworld 2007, for Alaska salmon photo.)

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