Apple, Amazon, secrecy, and control

Apple is often spoken and written about as if it was the most secretive, most controlling technology company on earth. Yet Amazon, who is even more controlling and more secretive manages to mostly escape attention for those very things. Anyone who's ever worked with them, most recently app developers, can attest to the control. David Streitfeld and Christine Haughney of the New York Times highlight the secrecy:

"Every story you ever see about Amazon, it has that sentence: 'An Amazon spokesman declined to comment,' " Mr. Marcus said.

Drew Herdener, an Amazon spokesman, declined to comment.

Apple believes their customers delight in being surprised, and almost certainly believe their competitors don't need any more lead time on their plans than a launch windows allow. Under promise and over deliver is always the philosophy, if not always the attainment. And Apple certainly seems to want to control as much of their customer experience as they can. Yet comments from Apple's press relations team appear fairly regularly in stories, mainstream and internet alike.

There are companies so secretive and controlling they make both Apple and Amazon appear positively open by comparison, yet like suspect zero and the megalodon, are almost never heard and for those very reasons. Apple and Amazon are too big and too public to stay completely out of the spotlight.

Yet it's once again interesting to see what the perceptions are, relative to the reality.

Source: New York Times

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Apple, Amazon, secrecy, and control


I have no problem with a company like Apple wanting to keep secret what they're working on. You know, I really don't understand why everyone is so hell-bent in finding out what Apple is up to before they release new stuff or before their announcements--doesn't anybody enjoy surprises, anymore?! I'm perfectly happy waiting and I don't need "rumor"-type articles clogging up my Zite app (not pointing the finger at just iMore here--no blog seems to be immune to this).

I guess there's two kinds of people in the world: those who enjoy waking up on Xmas morning to see what Santa brought and love surprises, and those who are sneaking around for weeks trying to find out where Mommy and Daddy hid them. The latter seems to predominate in the tech blogging world..... ;-)

Eh....I don't know. I think the allure to reading the rumors is the excitement of knowing what i'll be using in the future. I'm excited about the next iPhone and reading the rumors just builds the anticipation even more. It can be dangerous because the rumors can over promise what you're going to get but i'm realistic and take most everything with a grain of salt.

I think it's been a few years since Apple was actually secretive about it's new products. In recent years i've been surprised with the amount of leaks of information, product parts, and i've been surprised at how accurate they've been. I'm not specifically talking about gold iphones, 5s's, since really i have no idea if recent rumors are true. i'm more talking about the past, rumors of ipads, ipad updates, leaks of parts, everyone knowning haswells are coming, knowing apple would change a chip to A5 or A6, stuff like the fact that long before the iphone 5 we pretty much knew it was gonna look the same as a 4. It may be the same for the 5s. To me they are now like the NSA, they may have a reputation for secrecy but it seems like they can't keep secrets well anymore.