Aug 30, 2008

World - Steve Jobs back from the dead

NEW DELHI: Apple fans, tech aficionados, corporate trackers and Internet readers all over the world were crestfallen when they read about an obituary of tech czar Steve Jobs which was fired by financial newswire Bloomberg to its subscribers. ( Watch ) Had the man who reinvented himself, a moribund Apple Inc, and just about every rule in the game of personal electronics with iPod, and then in telecom with iPhone, finally lost his battle with pancreatic cancer? No, the man was alive and kicking even as a red-faced Bloomberg -- usually sharpshooters when it comes to financial news -- had missed the mark by miles. The gaffe happened when the American agency decided to update its 17-page stock obituary on Steve Jobs, and someone accidentally published it in the process. The story, which was meant to be sent to Bloomberg's internal wire, accidentally slipped out to its subscribers. And all hell broke loose! The story that ran 'Hold for release' - 'Do not use' couldn't actually have been stopped as it was simply too big for global financial markets. The jitters subsided later when the agency promptly retracted it. The story was titled “Steve Jobs, Apple Co-Founder, Arbitrator of Cool Technology, XXXX” and had a byline of editor Connie Guglielmo. The obituary had marked blank spaces for Jobs's age and cause of death to be filled in. It traced his life, achievements and surprisingly had quotes from rivals like Microsoft's ex-chairman Bill Gates. As it transpired, Jobs was clearly hale and hearty, even though he has previously battled pancreatic cancer, raising inevitable concerns over his health

Gossip website, was one of those which picked up the obituary and published it, from where it was picked up by many blogging sites. Later, it also printed the retraction by Bloomberg, including the original notes, which was quick to come by. Bloomberg editors Joe Winski and Cesca Antonelli sent out an apology of an apology: "An incomplete story referencing Apple Inc was inadvertently published by Bloomberg News. The item was never meant for publication and has been retracted.” Though no major harm was done: Few people recoiled in horror, fewer still gasped as the mainstream media seemed to have missed the little ‘devil’ of a news. And no, Apple stock did not crash! But the Internet media was quick to lap up the gaffe, and announce tongue in cheek, that Apple's iconic CEO had clearly come back from the "virtual jaws of death", an euphemism that succinctly outlines the harsh competition permeating modern journalism. Though common journalistic practices involve preparing obituaries of famous personalities, celebrities and politicians, but this has been the biggest goof-up of its kind in the annals of world journalism. The incident did serve as a reminder about people’s worries over Jobs' health in the past few years.

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