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steve’s Selective Disclosure

For those of you that missed that Steve Jobs chatted with the NYTimes, off the record, you can read more here. That this constitutes selective disclosure of material information seems to have been missed by most. Dan Lyons (ironically, once the fake Steve Jobs), says it well:

“Imagine, seriously, the response if Microsoft pulled (crap) like this. Or any company. … Here’s the thing. If you want to appear in public looking like (crap), and you insist on offering no explanation for the way you look, because you believe your privacy is more important than your company’s stock price, then fine. That’s a reasonable position. So do that. Stick to your principles, shut … up, and let the stock do what it’s going to do. But don’t try to have it both ways. Don’t pull this crap with leaks and off-the-record conversations. Either answer the question, out loud, in public, or don’t.”

I’m all for CEOs maintaining their privacy. But you can’t have it both ways – selectively revealing your health status to some while keeping it from others. Those that have the information now possess a unique advantage others don’t. Opacity, Apple’s hallmark, is one thing. Selective disclosure is an entirely different matter.

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