Apple's Mystique: The Dark Side

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Case Details:

Case Code : BECG112
Case Length : 22 Pages
Period : 2008-2009
Pub Date : 2010
Teaching Note : Available
Organization : Apple Inc.
Industry : Consumer Electronics
Countries : US; Global

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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"The thing that that's often missed is the power of secrecy and how it turns into incredibly exciting launches at the end of the day. When you let details trickle out, people say I know about that already but if you maintain that aura of what's coming, that generates more interest from people and that's good business."1

- Bob Borchers, senior director of worldwide product marketing for the iPhone, in 2009.

"Apple is one of the world's coolest companies. But there is one cool-company trend it has rejected [...] Few companies, indeed, are more secretive than Apple, or as punitive to those who dare violate the company's rules on keeping tight control over information [...] Secrecy at Apple is not just the prevailing communications strategy; it is baked into the corporate culture."2

- New York Times3, June 22, 2009.

Cost of the Secrets Behind Apple's Success

In January 2010, as the US-based technology giant Apple Inc.(Apple) was believed to be days away from unveiling its tablet personal computer (PC), the company turned to its lawyers to ensure that secrecy would be maintained about what analysts believed to be its biggest product launch since 2007.

Like its earlier blockbuster products, the tablet PC was developed maintaining absolute secrecy and the company had maintained a stony silence when faced with any queries about the product.

Apple's Mystique: The Dark Side - Next Page>>

1] "Apple's Borchers Makes the Leap to Venture Capital,", July 3, 2009.

2] Brad Stone and Ashlee Vance, "Apple's Obsession with Secrecy Grows Stronger,", June 22, 2009.

3] The New York Times is an English daily newspaper published in New York City.


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