Mario Sundar

LinkedIn's 2nd PR hire. These are my thoughts on products, public relations, and startups.

Why Apple needs a blog | the iPhone Mess

Quick update: Apple bullies bloggers, again!?


I’ve forever been a strong advocate of corporate blogs and am happy to see the increased number of corporate blogs. However, one of my biggest questions in recent times has been why Apple and Google, shy away from blogging. Probably, because they don’t find the need for evangelism owing to their enormous buzz? Maybe. However, it is moments of crisis/controversy that highlight the need for a blog.

Anybody on the planet would have stumbled upon Steve Jobs stupendous iPhone presentation last week, which bordered on perfection. However, what’s drawing more recent attention is the controversy surrounding the iPhone trademark, which Cisco claims it owns since 2000. While Apple’s official stance has been via traditional PR:

Apple spokesman Steve Dowling called the Cisco lawsuit “silly,” adding there are several companies using the term iPhone for VOIP products, and Cisco’s trademark is “tenuous at best.” (Source: WSJ, via BoingBoing)

Cisco’s response has been via a blog like press-release/commentary put forth by Mark Chandler, Cisco’s SVP and General Counsel:

I was surprised and disappointed when Apple decided to go ahead and announce their new product with our trademarked name without reaching an agreement. It was essentially the equivalent of “we’re too busy.” Despite being very close to an agreement, we had no substantive communication from Apple after 8pm Monday, including after their launch, when we made clear we expected closure. What were the issues at the table that kept us from an agreement? Was it money? No. Was it a royalty on every Apple phone? No. Was it an exchange for Cisco products or services? No. (Source: Cisco blogs)

The tone is informal, yet wordy. Was it ghost-written? I dunno. But it sure has a blog-like feel and given the fact that it’s technically coming from the general counsel himself, it definitely is a step in the right direction for the corporate blogosphere.

Round 1. Cisco.

As for Apple…

Do you think their response on a blog vs. official PR really matters?

Filed under: Business Blogging

8 Responses

  1. Apple vs. Cisco= Cat Fight;-)

    To be honest, I am actually somewhat suprised that Apple did launch with this hanging in the background. I do think that the minds at Apple seem to be creative, so I don’t know why they had to stick with “Iphone”?

    Myphone?
    IDphone? (id=ego)

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  2. It really does seem strange that apple don’t have a blogger especially with their evanglisim roots.

    I wrote a bit of a post about social media and the iphone that I’ve linked as my url that you might find interesting.

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  3. Mario Sundar says:

    Well, Damon, you may have read that Apple has a strong case to fend off Cisco’s suit:

    I hate to say it, Kelvin, but some of the companies you cite like Apple do very little to actually engage their customer. Its the customers that want to increasingly talk to those companies, particularly in Apple’s case.

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  4. Matt Dickman says:

    Mario,

    I agree with your reply to Kelvin here. Apple may be the most loved, least engaged company around. They’re historically non-responsive, non-personal and almost seem to leave it to their community to do the fighting for them (which it does quite frequently).

    I do think it would greatly benefit Apple to have an open dialog with their community, but why start now? In the case of the iPhone not only did their community stand up to Cisco, but the pro-Apple media dug up patent information, legal responses and photo evidence.

    My question is, would anyone at Apple be as powerful a communicator and advocate than the Apple army it’s created?

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  5. The iPhone mess and corporate conversations

    I just came across this post on Mario Sundar’s blog about the iPhone debacle that Apple is in with Cisco. I left my comment there, but wanted to touch on this a little more. Apple is in a unique position

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  6. Mario Sundar says:

    Hi Matt,

    I think the reason is they create products that are fiercely fought over. This will not happen for less magical products. The reason they’re able to engender such loyalty is their ability to craft miracles — the basis for evangelism of all kinds.

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  7. […] Apple has shied away from blogging (e.g. the Apple vs. Cisco name trademark issue). More recently, Steve Jobs has blogged on two occasions (here’s the green apple example). In […]

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  8. […] (senior exec blogging case study) 3. Apple – their MobileMe blog saga (work in progress) 4. Cisco-Apple blog fight! (where blogging helps) 5. Southwest Airlines is nuts about blogging (oh! […]

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