Daniel Eran Dilger
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Ryan Tate and Brett Arends desperately try to vilify Steve Jobs

Daniel Eran Dilger

Two pandering sensationalists are sinking to new lows in their bottom feeding efforts to vilify Steve Jobs: Ryan Tate of Gawker Media, the company that paid for stolen Apple merchandise, and Brett Arends of the Street, a fraud blog that regularly seeds misinformation to foment the market.

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Reared Arends

It’s not surprising that Arends spun a ridiculous story suggesting Steve Jobs made “the dumbest trade ever” and subsequently lost around $10 billion. His job at the Street was to make up absurdly moronic tales, as is the job of everyone who’s ever worked there: Troy Wolverton, Scott Moritz, and so on. What’s really idiotic is that his bit of ignorant “reporting” was picked up and widely syndicated, making him neck and neck with Tate for the Troll of the Day award.

Nobody repeating the story seemed to remember that Jobs didn’t “trade” anything. He was forced to distance himself from options tainted by a somewhat overblown backdating scandal. Rather than being some foolish gamble or excessively safe play that left billions on the table, the reality was that Jobs rather shrewdly responded to shareholder outrage by giving up the tainted options and instead granting himself new options that were worth considerably less.

The fact that Apple’s stock greatly appreciated in value after that was not independent from the fact that shareholders have grown confident in Jobs’ ability to run the company. Had he insisted on keeping options mired in scandal, Apple might have been sidetracked by the issue and distracted enough to perform poorly, meaning there may never have been $13 billion of appreciation on the shares Jobs had an option to buy.

Unlike a regular stock trade, this isn’t an example of one shareholder trading shares to another, based on information or faith that those shares will be worth more rather than less in the future. Options granted by a company dilute the overall value of the company’s shares. So Jobs didn’t lose $10 billion to another shareholder with a better grasp of where the value of the shares were headed, he returned that value to the shareholders of his company and granted himself new options that are now worth $2.5 billion. If that’s a “dumb trade,” I’d like to make a few dumb trades. But it was neither dumb nor a trade.

If Arends had any real understanding of the market, he wouldn’t have made up such an idiot tale. And of course, if the tech media wasn’t so brainless, somebody would have pointed out what a fool Arends was before his nonsense blather got smeared all over the Internet like so much unpleasant dog poo.

I mean really, this is the same person who last summer wrote, for the Wall Street Journal, “Despite Profits, Apple Is No Investment Opportunity.” That was back when Apple stock was just under $150. It’s now above $250, not even a year later. Arend’s entire message of doom was based on the idea that the company would soon be facing competition in the mobile industry, as if Apple was some stranger to competition with big dumb conservative companies that dump out unexceptional junk.

Apple Profits, But Stock Is Not A Buy – WSJ.com
Who’s paying Brett Arends to malign Apple?
More on Scott Moritz and the Jim Cramer Street Misinformation Engine

Tate Taint

Trying not to be overshadowed, Tate spun the sob story of a disabled woman who “saved from her fixed income” to buy an iPad, only to find that Apple Retail has a credit card policy for iPad sales. This was spun as Apple “refusing a poor disabled woman’s business,” as if women are some special class of pitied humans who, along with the disabled, are unable to obtain credit cards.

The reality is that Apple has an limited inventory of iPads, and so has set up a two item maximum per person. If it allowed cash sales, it would be rather easy to get around that, wouldn’t it?

Tate has been crying about Apple for some time, but most notably worked to profit from an email exchange he had with Jobs where Tate played the role of a drunk douchbag whining about how Apple should only be giving things away for free and letting third parties raid its fortunes while it stands watching with a dopey grin (you know, like Apple in the late 80s), while Jobs played the sage adult offering a rational slap in the face to each of Tate’s mouthy and self-righteous email missives.

The emails finally stopped after Jobs finally replied, “what have you done that’s so great? Do you create anything, or just criticize others work and belittle their motivations?” After Tate sobered up, he printed the emails and gained some new traffic to his blog.

Clearly, Tate has now accomplished something great for Valleywag, but it’s still just more criticizing others’ work and belittling their motivations.

Steve Jobs Offers World ‘Freedom From Porn’ – Apple – Gawker

As soon as I can be bothered to update the page, I’ll add them both to the Zoon Awards Hall of Shame.

Zoon Awards Hall of Shame

  • FreeRange

    Douche bags indeed! How is it that these fools can hold onto their jobs?

  • http://www.ericperlberg.com Eric in London

    The web is becoming a cesspool of misinformation, it’s unsettling. Not just on this story but on almost every topic imaginable.

  • http://www.van-garde.com adobephile

    I think it’s interesting to witness the growing differences between Apple’s official events [e.g., the upcoming WWDC], which themselves are becoming more and more generally significant as well as more and more generally anticipated, and then to have to endure the increasing spate of attacks, bad news, and gossip from so many odd sources.

    Apple is a shining entity, unfazed by all the “bad economy” propaganda, doggedly producing great products and selling them in volume, and showing us all that one can succeed given good planning, determination, and simple hard work and persistence.

  • itotah

    Again, you are right on. What you are describing are critics and rogues. Critics like Tate criticize because they can’t create anything — Jobs said it perfectly. Their goal in life is to minimize others. And then you have the rogues — the fake journalists who manipulate the market to their, or someone’s, benefit. It’s sometimes shockingly amazing to see odd negative publicity with Apple just before a surge in the stock price. Someone made a killing. Are these people that stupid or just dishonest? It makes one wonder. Apple is about to make several announcements in the coming weeks that is likely to take the stock upward. There is no time like the present to weigh the stock down to cover some large purchases. It’s like these “bad news” articles appear just like clockwork — timed just weeks before a surge.

  • SkyTree

    Daniel,

    This isn’t just a story about a poor little old lady. It probably is not even true.

    Just look at the story at http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=news/7_on_your_side&id=7447037 see? the little old lady is quite able to get on line but does not own a computer. So quite apart from her payment method, how does Apple notify her when her iPad arrives?

  • marian_

    Daniel, when were those options due to expire? If they would have expired before the stock price passed the strike value, the whole story presented by Arends becomes really ridiculous.

  • berult

    Our World tends toward virtualization of Reality. We are fed Facts that blend into our expectations and consolidate our prejudices so as to render us more predictable, hence more marketable. Incitement to open mind reading and filtering of fact based Information is on the wane; push-polling in all its dubious forms is running rampant.

    In this context, Objective Informations shouldn’t be read as universally recognizable Informations but rather potent, bidirectional Informations for a segmented receivership. Truth has to be useful to be truthful; useful to the matrix as well as to the outcome of it being revealed, emphasized or confirmed.

    Apple’s business model is running counter-clock wise; it ‘pull-polls’ while pulling no punches. And Virtual Reality Inc. pushes right back with a vengeance.

  • ccs181

    As a grey-hair, I’ll lend some perspective to the (timeless) problem of technical illiteracy.
    Back in 1974, Ted Nelson published “Computer Lib/Dream Machines”. It is a classic. In it he quoted one of my favorite computer jokes of all time –

    What’s the difference between a used-car salesman and a computer software salesman?
    The used-car salesman knows when he’s lying.

    It still rings true especially for most technical journalists.

  • Player-16

    He was educated at Cambridge and Oxford Universities, and has worked as an analyst at McKinsey & Co. He is a Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) and Accredited Asset Management Specialist (AAMS).
    With these credentials, this shows he is a bitter man. Since SJ recently ‘dissed’im’, he had to write a puff piece to get his bit in… it’s back-firing in a big way; even on the site he writes for: 98% negative to his piece.
    If Arends calls this a dumb trade, what about Jerry Yang of Yahoo! rebuffing Microsoft’s US$45 Billion in cash and stock. Now THAT’S a dumb trade… and just a few months before the financial crises! How much is Yahoo! worth now?

  • jbarker71

    I realize I never knew what an idiot Rob Enderle is:
    http://www.ecommercetimes.com/story/69897.html
    “I think this Palm/HP deal is potentially one of the big things that could define this century, and its potential is, as yet, largely unknown. ”
    Utter contradiction, idiocy, and shamelessness. Enderle is a nimrod.

    [That is so hilarious that I’m pretty sure I couldn’t write it even trying hard to be hilarious. Perhaps Enderle is making a fantastic joke, and it’s just not obvious because it stretches the punchline through his entire career? – Dan]

  • G4Dualie

    “bothered to update the page”

    Really? That’s a bother? After reading your scathing article, I should think it’d be a bother to not act quickly.

    I understand the world is full of idiots and if you called each one of them out personally, you’d suffocate.

    /tangent

    I need a job and you need more help. Not to belabor the point but, do you even have an proof reader? ‘Cause it’s obvious you barely give your stuff the once over, not that there’s anything wrong with that.

    In fact, to me, you are the “Stephen King” of the tech world; your edgy writing goes down like a fine single-malt; smooth, with a kick.

    Keep up the good fight, Daniel.

  • SamLowry

    Who is Steve Job ?
    (typo 1st sentense)

  • http://blog.techflaws.org Techflaws.org

    I really hope you’ll find the time to write about Adobe’s current and embarrassing ad campaign against Apple, hinged on freedom of choice. That’s rich coming from Adobe!

  • David Dennis

    You know, that lady could have just purchased her iPad from Best Buy. As far as I know, they have no such regulation and no way to enforce it.

    I think those rules were simply designed to preserve stock in Apple stores; Apple doesn’t care how Best Buy sells iPads since that’s their image.

    D

  • cadillac88

    To Berult – whoa! I just pulled a frontal lobe trying to understand that. I guess it’s like fast food. We’re all in a hurry, they’ll make it and we’ll just drive thru… done. Hunger gone! Same with info – I don’t want to figure anything out, just give it to me. My son is like that.18 years old. He’ll tell me what he thinks – I’ll say, why do you think that? And he gets irritated.My Daughter’s exactly the opposite. She’s taking journalism and hoping to write about what’s really going on.I made the mistake of mentioning that the sun was only going to last another 5 billion years when they were both young; he was totally okay with that while she had nightmares for months.Not much of a population sample, I know. But 50% fast food mind and 50% deep thinker – Reason for continued faith in mankind! Don’t get depressed.Yes, this poll-pulling as you say is more prevalent in the (mis) information age but it’s also motivating at least some additional critical thinking (without the phoney cynicism this article points out) that might have a chance of counter balancing the culture.The cynics wont’ win because eventually the first cynic meets a second and they both won’t trust each other even about their cynicisms and like two mirrors facing each other, the infinity of reflections explodes their heads in a flash of mutual self-destruction. And the purveyors of misinformation will eventually get drummed out of town like the snake oil salesmen (I hope). People like yourself, Daniel, and my daughter keep me optimistic.

  • http://TheRef(tm) FurryOne

    I haven’t checked this in a long time, but I believe it’s illegal NOT to sell for cash if you accept cash for anything else in your store. You ARE given the right not to accept cash if it pertains to all transactions, or if accepting cash involves some hardship, like the person paying a large sum in change. US paper currency isn’t called “Legal Tender” for nothing. As it states: ” This note is legal tender for all debts, public and private.”

  • http://www.marketing-alchemy.com Michael Linehan

    Daniel —- is that a new Twitter widget? Or is it me? It never used to scroll in my browser. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE get rid of the scrolling. It is really distracting, while I’m trying to read – on par with crass, annoying blinking Flash ads or constantly rotating header images. Thanks.

  • enzos

    A parable:
    “Asleep at the Switch” was quite a sacrilegious story. The hero was the ghost of Albert Einstein. He himself was so little interested in wealth that he scarcely heard what his auditor had to say to him. It was some sort of balderdash about how he could have become a billionaire, if only he had gotten a second mortgage on his house in Bern, Switzerland, in Nineteen-hundred and Five, and invested the money in known uranium deposits before telling the world that E = Mc2.
    “But there you were – asleep at the switch again,” said the auditor.
    “Yes,” said Einstein politely, “it does seem rather typical.”
    “So you see,” said the auditor, “life really was quite fair. You did have a remarkable number of opportunities, whether you took them or not.”
    “Yes, I see that now,” said Einstein.
    “Would you mind saying that in so many words?” said the auditor.
    “Saying what?” said Einstein.
    “That life was fair.”
    “Life was fair,” said Einstein.
    “If you don’t really mean it,” said the auditor, “I have many more examples to show you. For instance, just forgetting atomic energy: If you had simply taken the money you put into a savings bank when you were at the Institute for Advanced Studies at Princeton, and you had put it, starting in Nineteen-hundred and Fifty, say, into IBM and Polaroid and Xerox – even though you had only five more years to live – ” The auditor raised his eyes suggestively, inviting Einstein to show how smart he could be.
    “I would have been rich?” said Einstein.
    “‘Comfortable,’ shall we say?” said the auditor smugly. “But there you were again-” And again his eyebrows went up.
    “Asleep at the switch?” asked Einstein hopefully.
    The auditor stood and extended his hand, which Einstein accepted unenthusiastically. “So you see, Doctor Einstein,” he said, “we can’t blame God for everything, now can we?” He handed Einstein his pass through the Pearly Gates. “Good to have you aboard,” he said.
    So into heaven Einstein went, carrying his beloved fiddle. He thought no more about the audit. He was a veteran of countless border crossings by then. There had always been senseless questions to answer, empty promises to make, meaningless documents to sign.
    But once inside heaven Einstein encountered ghost after ghost who was sick about what his or her audit had shown. One husband and wife team, which had committed suicide after losing everything in a chicken farm in New Hampshire, had been told that they had been living the whole time over the largest deposit of nickel in the world.
    A fourteen-year-old Harlem child who had been killed in a gang fight was told about a two-carat diamond ring that lay for weeks at the bottom of a catch basin he passed every day. It was flawless and had not been reported as stolen. If he had sold it for only a tenth of its value, four hundred dollars, say, according to his auditor, and speculated in commodities futures, especially in cocoa at that time, he could have moved his mother and sisters and himself into a Park Avenue condominium and sent himself to Andover and then to Harvard after that.
    There was Harvard again.
    All the auditing stories that Einstein heard were told by Americans. He had chosen to settle in the American part of heaven. Understandably, he had mixed feelings about Europeans, since he was a Jew. But it wasn’t only Americans who were being audited. Pakistanis and pygmies from the Philippines and even communists had to go through the very same thing.
    It was in character for Einstein to be offended first by the mathematics of the system the auditors wanted everybody to be so grateful for. He calculated that if every person on Earth took full advantage of every opportunity, became a millionaire and then a billionaire and so on, the paper wealth on that one little planet would exceed the worth of all the minerals in the universe in a matter of three months or so. Also: There would be nobody left to do any useful work.
    So he sent God a note. It assumed that God had no idea what sorts of rubbish His auditors were talking. It accused the auditors rather than God of cruelly deceiving new arrivals about the opportunities they had had on Earth. He tried to guess the auditors’ motives. He wondered if they might not be sadists.
    The story ended abruptly. Einstein did not get to see God. But God sent out an archangel who was boiling mad. He told Einstein that if he continued to destroy ghosts’ respect for the audits, he was going to take Einstein’s fiddle away from him for all eternity. So Einstein never discussed the audits with anybody ever again. His fiddle meant more to him than anything.
    -Kurt Vonnegut

  • JohnWatkins

    Dan,
    The link from your RSS feed to this article is 404.

  • gslusher

    Re: the disabled woman and her iPad

    Apple turned this into a PR coup. They not only changed the policy (cash buyers have to open an Apple account–the one we use to register products, etc) but also gave her an iPad. This is her first computer and she apparently loves it.

    This also made the local TV reporter who first reported the story into a hero. Everyone won, except the jerks like Tate. (I wonder if he will cover the latest developments? Probably not.)

    @SamLowry 12:

    “Who is Steve Job ?
    (typo 1st sentense)”

    Speaking of typos …

  • Silver

    Daniel, here’s another candidate for Zoon awards, iPad edition: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/37235630/ns/technology_and_science-wireless/

  • JohnWatkins

    Interesting how people seem to forget that Apple tends to make good when a customer has a problem. Clearly the guy who tried to sell the lost iPhone prototype didn’t think things through when he decided not to return the phone.

  • http://www.kypackrat.com/ Kentucky Packrat

    I haven’t checked this in a long time, but I believe it’s illegal NOT to sell for cash if you accept cash for anything else in your store.

    This could vary from state to state, but federal law only requires the acceptance of US currency for debts. I can put a sign up “Only accepting gold-pressed latinum” in my store, and that’s what you have to pay me or you don’t get your stuff. Now, if I let you eat a candy bar first, then I want gold-pressed latinum, too bad; I get cash instead (it’s a debt now).

    One of Milady’s bosses refused a partial cash payment of a debt one time, and hit this law. The judge still evicted the late-paying tenant for her, but voided the entire debt for her refusal to accept cash.

  • GeorgeFromNY

    There sure is a lot of Apple-bashing going ’round these days. Legitimate criticism of the company or its products is one thing, but the kind of mindless mud-slinging Dan showcases here is just sad.

    As for Jobs’ exchange with Tate… while it’s unfortunate that his closing remarks were ad hominem, I think he came away looking far better.

  • FreeRange

    Daniel – where are you????? We are waiting for another brilliant analysis from you – this time of the google O/I conference… those arrogant pricks need a good knock down!

  • techadoodle

    I don’t know if anyone is still reading this but I’ll post here, anyway.
    Ryan Tate at it again on techmeme
    What Everyone Is Too Polite to Say About Steve Jobs
    There were several comments, including mine, telling him what a class act we thought he was for writing this article a day after Steve Jobs died.. All of those posts disappear as quickly as they are posted..
    I’m so tired of the haters.