Grassroots Apple sites cower, close

Jobs plays God

Here's a funny thing. As in funny peculiar.

Apple has never received a more positive coverage in Big Media. The Time cover was extremely generous: but weekly you can read hymns of praise in the Wall Street Journal (we imagine that Apple sends the drooling Mossberg a bib with every piece of review kit) and extensive coverage in the New York Times. Apple-fanciers hold prominent positions on tech sections of Business Week and other regional dailies.

But Apple's market share has rarely been lower, at 2.4 per cent of the worldwide PC market.

Surely there's a disconnect here?

And thanks to the enthusiastic smaller publishers, Apple has a die-hard grassroots support that other companies would love to emulate. Microsoft is just one example of a company that has paid for "astroturf", and more would if they could afford. Apple's grassroots support comes at no cost,

This week Apple declared war on its grassroots enthusiasts, by preventing "rumor sites" from attending MacWorld Expo in New York. And one has already responded by shutting-up shop.

"My reasons for starting GraphicPower no longer exist," editor-in-chief Scott McCarty tells us. McCarty was refused a Media pass for the Expo. He will be offering the domain for sale, he adds.

"If Apple would only learn the intricate dance of dealing with the media -- large and small then they would end up gaining so much more than they lose," writes Nick de Plume at ThinkSecret, who didn't apply for media accreditation.

Cultivating the grassroots requires only a little indulgence, and for Apple to hold its breath when faced with what it regards as an odious publication. It's called a free press. Apple should resist the temptation to play a vengeful God - dolling out punishment and rewards - and as Matt Rothenberg advises at eWeek, "Suck it up—and count your blessings." ®