For a long while, I've been writing here and even on the Huffington Post about HuffPo's "Apple Love." If it's Apple, it must be wonderful and written about in glowing terms and given space on the home page, and even banner headlines, almost whatever the story. If it's Microsoft, it must be ignored or trashed. Yes, I'm exaggerating, but honestly not a lot. They've had front page headline stories about, literally, "rumors" about invitations to an Apple event. All the while Microsoft stories about the introduction of Windows 8 would be buried somewhere on the Technology page.
As I wrote here, the Huffington Post once wrote a front page article about how experts slam Windows 8 -- except they left out the rave review from CNET, the leading tech publication in the world, which gave it four stars out of five. And how on the day Microsoft made their major announcement about pricing the Surface tablet, HuffPo had it somewhere on the Technology page (not even the headline), while the same day put three stories about Apple on the main front page -- including that aforementioned story about rumors of an invitation. And then there were the story slamming Microsoft because a "surprising number of people don't even know what Windows 8 is" -- despite the reality that the software hadn't even been introduced yet, Microsoft had a billion dollar ad campaign planned upcoming, almost half the country did know what it was -- already, and given that Apple only has 10% of the market, it would be hard to imagine how small the number of people would be who knew about an upcoming Apple operating system weeks before it was introduced. That and on and on and on and on...
Raving to the heights of the earth about Apple, trashing and ignoring Microsoft. What in the world does Microsoft have to do get on the Huffington Post homepage, let alone the banner headline?
Well, how about this? They got the banner headline today.
That's what the Huffington Post finally puts Microsoft news on the main banner headline of the homepage. That the company cut 18,000 jobs. Now, to be clear, that is a story. And arguably it's a homepage story, just just a Technology page story. Whether it's a banner headline story is an open question, but for the sake of argument let's say it is -- let's say the story is that Microsoft is leaking money bigtime, crumbling and cutting 18,000 of its jobs because of it. After all, that's certainly the implication of the banner headline, isn't it? Right??
So horrific that the Huffington Post not only understandably repeated the story as the huge banner headline on their Technology page, but with an even far more ridiculing graphic, using the infamous Blue Screen of Death "error" page for Windows.
Ouch. Yipes! It must be gut-wrenching horrific news. The dreaded Blue Screen of Death. Microsoft must really, truly, honestly be in serious deep-in-the-swamps financial trouble. It had to cut 18,000 jobs and got two, huge, slamming banner headline, one on the homepage. That's what all these stories are suggesting to you, isn't it? Right??!!
Actually, no, that's not what the story is.
The story, you see, is that last year Microsoft.bought the phone company Nokia, and it was always rumored -- from the very first -- that the Redmond company would consolidate the two, which means there will be layoffs. It was certainly bad news for those who lost jobs, but what was the reaction of Wall Street of what this mean for the company? As the second paragraph says, "The news sent Microsoft's stock up 3 percent in morning trading."
Up. The stock went up. Three percent!
Still, the article did try to find something really, really, especially bad about this. So, there it is, in a standalone paragraph, highlighting its every word was -- "FBR Capital Markets analyst Daniel Ives said the cuts were about double what Wall Street was expecting."
And that would be bad, quite bad, indeed...if only you stopped reading there -- and didn't continue on to the very next sentence which was set off apart, in a separate paragraph. "But he said they were necessary to streamline operations and clean up a bloated management structure."
Oh. So, you mean that economically, this would be a Good Thing? Which is why the stock price went up 3%. Ah, okay, got it.
And how did the article end -- presuming readers got that far? This banner headline frontpage article slamming "OW" Microsoft for being in such financial trouble that it's had to cut jobs? The very last sentence, buried as far on the bottom as you could get was --
"The stock is up nearly 18 percent since the beginning of the year."
Again, to be clear, cutting 18,000 jobs, the biggest in company history, is a terrible thing for the employees who will be out of work. But as a news story -- for a company you're regularly ignoring at best, and slamming at worst -- this was not even remotely seen as troubling for the company, but rather applauded for streamlining the organization after buying another company and integrating it, to the degree that its own stock went...UP.
But don't worry -- rest assured that there will be a rumor about the iPhone 6 coming along any day now.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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