Subba’s Serendipitous moments

May 17, 2007

The power of false information

Filed under: Business,Model,Stories,Strategy — Subbaraman Iyer @ 1:41 pm

We all know information is power. We also assume that information is correct and authentic, more so, when the information comes from credible sources like corporate email. Now, it seems not so, going by what happened last week at Apple.

A well known tech site Engadget (which I visit regularly) published an email  (that was actually sent to all Apple employees) that Apple’s revolutionary product iPhone was being delayed to October from June and the new operating system Leopard would not ship before January next year.

That news was enough for Apple stock to drop 5% that day (before it recovered)

Apple did come up with their version saying that the email wasn’t "authentic" and said that both iPhone and Leopard are on track.

Now here’s the impact: Between the 20 odd minutes that the "false email" hit the stock market and the communication from Apple that the email is fake, nearly 15 million shares (about 60% of Apple’s volume) were traded. Some one made a neat pile of money.

What is intriguing is how did someone manage to pull this deceptive trick, as an email coming from Apple and sent to all employees? How did the news spread around so fast? Have we moved to an era, where we react so fast to news, that it now provides scamsters an opportunity to exploit this weakness?

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