You can’t make 500 million friends without launching malicious smear campaigns against a few enemies

By on May 12, 2011 at 9:45 AM.

You can’t make 500 million friends without launching malicious smear campaigns against a few enemies

Google might be “evil” according to some, but we’ve never heard of the company launching a stealth smear campaign against one of its competitors in an effort to influence the media. That is what Facebook is said to have confirmed doing recently and, if true, the revelation could leave a sizable blemish on Facebook’s already tarnished public image. The Daily Beast on Thursday reports that Facebook hired PR firm Burson-Marsteller to attempt to persuade writers at several publications to publish Google-bashing pieces about the Internet giant’s “Social Circle” product invading users’ privacy. Privacy? How ironic. The campaign, shamefully led by two former journalists, backfired when a blogger Burson contacted decided to publish the firm’s emails. There is silver lining in all this, however: if Facebook is threatened enough that it is trying to pull off a catty stunt like this, Google might actually have a social offering worthy of Facebook’s, and our, attention. More →

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AT&T announces full-touchscreen HTC Freestyle; quick-messaging Brew handset

By on February 8, 2011 at 3:59 PM.

AT&T announces full-touchscreen HTC Freestyle; quick-messaging Brew handset

Your friends over at AT&T have added a new, full-touchscreen, quick messaging device, based on the Brew mobile platform, to their handset lineup. Say hello to the the HTC Freestyle. The Freestyle sports a 3.2-inch touchscreen display, 3.2 megapixel camera with video recording capabilities, micro-SD card slot (support for up to a 32GB card), 3.5mm headphone jack, stereo Bluetooth, and the HTC Sense UI. The device will cost $99.99 with a signed two-year contract (after a $50 mail-in rebate). The Freestyle will be available in AT&T retail stores and online beginning February 13th. Not sure why you would pay $99 for this HTC set when you can get the Inspire — also launching February 13th — for the same price. Hit the jump to check out the full press release. More →

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Sales of new Apple TV to pass 1 million ‘later this week’

By on December 21, 2010 at 8:59 AM.

Sales of new Apple TV to pass 1 million ‘later this week’

In a short press release this morning, iMaker Apple, Inc. announced that it anticipates sales of its new Apple TV device to eclipse 1 million in sales “later this week.” The announcement was made a little early by Apple’s PR team as later this week most consumers, writers, and analysts will be sitting by their respective fires roasting chestnuts… or something like that. The new Apple TV was released on September 1st of this year — it has taken the company just under three months to reach the 1 million units sold milestone. More →

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Facebook working on their own phone?

By on September 19, 2010 at 4:01 PM.

Facebook working on their own phone?

TechCrunch broke the news and Business Insider is also reporting that Facebook is working on their own mobile handset. The first report claimed that Facebook’s Joe Hewitt and Eric Tseng (previous Facebook iPhone app developer and previous Senior Product Manager for Android at Google) are heading up the project. When Business Insider chimed in, however, the scope of the project seemed to make more sense than Facebook creating a mobile OS from scratch — they’re rumored to be using Android as the base layer and heavily customizing the UI, applications, and experience. Before you get too excited, it’s being reported the project won’t be ready until late 2011, and even better, Facebook PR has chimed in saying that they are “not building a phone.” If this does pan out to be true, is a Facebook-heavy Android-based handset something that would interest you? More →

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Images of Microsoft's Internet Explorer 9 accidentally posted on Russian site?

By on August 25, 2010 at 7:30 PM.

Images of Microsoft's Internet Explorer 9 accidentally posted on Russian site?

Things we know: Microsoft has an Internet Explorer event scheduled for September 15th, Microsoft has released four developer previews of Internet Explorer 9, IE 9 beta is set to launch in September and in all likelihood will be unveiled at the 9/15 gathering. Things we don’t know: what IE 9’s interface will look like. However, thanks to Microsoft’s Russian press site, we may have a better idea of what we are in-store for. ZDNet found the screen shot above sitting on the Redmond software giant’s Russian web site. The screen capture shows a sleeker, less cluttered, dare we say more mature, version of IE. The shot depicts a unified search and address bar and the Russian site said the whole look and feel of the browser has been simplified. When contacted for comment, the company had this to say: “Microsoft is encouraged by the early enthusiasm around Internet Explorer 9; we have nothing further to share about Internet Explorer 9 at this time.” Guess we’ll just have to wait until the 15th. More →

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Why PR is so vital: Apple's next move is a lose-lose

By on July 13, 2010 at 11:34 AM.

Why PR is so vital: Apple's next move is a lose-lose

iPhone-No-Signal

Rumors have started to fly around the internet about an iPhone 4 recall, and this got us thinking… while we think a mandatory recall is very unlikely (as the iPhone 4 isn’t much of a safety concern), this is now a no win-situation for Apple. More →

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The entire Steve Jobs email story… It's real

By on July 3, 2010 at 3:10 PM.

The entire Steve Jobs email story… It's real

Apple Logo-Black + White

 

I obviously wanted to be 100% sure about this before I posted a follow up post, but before I go into the details, I’d like you all to know about how we operate over here…

Yes, BGR runs rumors and information that is not always completely confirmed. That is part of the game we are in. What we and other quality sites do is research, confirm, and make our best editorial judgements before running information that is not yet confirmed. Over the past 5 years, I’ve had more exclusives in the mobile field than anyone or any site on the entire planet, and my accuracy rate has been ridiculously high. I’d guess above 95%.

It’s a knack, a gut feeling, a judgment call that you sometimes make when you are sharing valuable information that no one has ever reported on before. There have been countless, and I do mean countless things other fine writers at BGR and I have walked away from entirely. Not ridiculous tips like “the iPhone 7 has been released on Sprint and you can only buy it at Best Buy”, but rather high quality photos, or videos — things very hard to fake. And we walk away.

One recent example in memory actually is the Xbox Kinect. We had that exclusive story sent to us as an anonymous tip a day or two before Engadget published it, revealing it to the world. Someone sent to us a photo of the then unheard of motion-controlled Xbox accessory, and lightly detailed it for us. They worked at an ad agency and were filming this promo piece, so they snapped a quick photo and shot it over to us. We couldn’t independently confirm something so amazingly cool like a brand new way to experience and play video games, so we passed on running the story. Since we were the tipster’s favorite site, he sent it to us first, but still wanting to share the information, he sent it to Engadget who then ran the story. We’re not saying Engadget did a poor job from an editorial viewpoint because they might have confirmed the story with a source at Microsoft, but we specifically couldn’t, so we passed. That is just one example of hundreds on how journalists and reporters make decisions on whether to go with a story or not, and it is always better to be safe than sorry. Our reputation isn’t worth a small or large exclusive. There is no reason to burn our readers for a cheap uptick in traffic for a day or two. It is not how I or we operate, and never will be. More →

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