Two rumors and one announcement > A dozen new tablets
The Mobile World Congress is a big trade show, and it's seen the launch or unveiling of a whole bunch of awesome new gadgets. Between the tablets and the phones and all of Intel's bluster, there's been a lot to cover. But the most-discussed "exhibitor" this year isn't even at the show.
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Apple has dominated the tech news headlines for days now. First we had a conveniently-timed iPhone Nano rumor. Then equally convenient rumors of an "ultra-thin" and possibly 3G MacBook Pro popped up. And, as if that weren't enough, Apple capped things off by making an actual announcement. All apps that sell products will be forced to have an in-app sales option...which means Apple gets a cut of every dime anyone makes on an iOS app now.
You can't spend ten minutes flipping through tech blogs without coming across an article lambasting Apple for screwing over retailers, or praising them for liberating customers from the tyranny of typing in credit card info on a tiny phone. It doesn't matter which side of the argument is "right". Apple has already won.
We can expect to see similar announcements, rumors and scandals pop up before the next major trade show. Apple has hit upon a brilliant strategy. What better way to fight against a crop of competing tablets than by denying them any time in the spotlight? Every word printed about the "App Store controversy" or some new rumored iOS device shrinks the competition from view.
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This is lateral warfare at its finest. With two spotty rumors and one announcement, Apple has nullified an enormous amount of marketing money. This is the reason for all the crazy secrecy and security measures. This is why a SWAT team raided Jason Chen's home over the iPhone leak. Regular product leaks become routine. But, properly scripted, shepherded and timed- a rumor can break the back of an empire. That's a lesson the rest of this industry could stand to learn.