Engadget’s Apple iPhone Story & Stock Hackers

Okay, Apple’s iPhone isn’t delayed, contrary to Engadget’s market-moving retracted story this morning. The incorrect news whacked Apple’s stock, taking it down almost 3% on what now seems to been a spoofed email somehow inserted into Apple’s internal email system.

This is a bigger deal than a blog getting a story wrong. Why? Because this was almost certainly done for market manipulation, with someone — Russian hackers again? — inserting this into the Apple network, knowing it would get out and hook someone, while allowing them to trade against the news.

Original Apple email

From: Bullet News
Date: May 16, 2007 9:09 AM CDT
To: [redacted]
Subject: Mac OS X Leopard and iPhone Delayed

Mac OS X Leopard Delayed Until January
iPhone Delayed Until October

REGIONS: Asia-Pacific, Canada, Europe, Japan, Latin America, United States
GROUPS: AppleCare, Retail

issued a press release today announcing that iPhone which was scheduled
to ship in June, has been moved to October and the release date for Mac
OS X Leopard has been moved to January next year. A beta version of Mac
OS X Leopard will be given to developers at the Worldwide Developers
Conference (WWDC).

Apple email redaction

From: [redacted]
Date: May 16, 2007 10:47 AM CDT
To: [redacted]
Subject: NEWS: Disregard Bullet*News Sent May 16 at Approximately 9 a.m. Central–AP/CA/EU/JP/LA/US

You may have received what appeared to be a Bullet*News from Apple. This communication is fake and did not come from Apple.

Apple is on track to ship iPhone in late June and Mac OS X Leopard in October.


  1. Rafael Montoya says:

    The Apple response should have been a few minutes after the fake email showed. The response is at least an hour an a half later.
    Either some Apple officers were not with their eyes on the ball or they have an inneficient crisis management process in place.

  2. CONSPIRACY THEORY ALERT: I posit that the email really WAS from Apple, leaked purposely to gauge just how big of a hit their stock would take if they released such news, as they are (were) actively contemplating delaying the launch to incorporate some more functionality. Then they conveniently blamed it on the dog and disavowed all knowledge. This is PURELY from my darker recesses and has no basis in fact whatsoever, but it could theoretically have happened this way, right?

  3. good thinking worth. how do you “spoof” the Internal apple email system and why hasn’t it been done before? It is going to be really easy to track these folks down I imagine. Expect more technology based shenanigans as bull market psychology takes root.

  4. Nice conspiracy theory “worth”. I like it. One day all companies will float shocker rumors about themselves.

  5. Hey, if the Engadgets and TechCrunches and GigaOMs and Truemors of the world are basing entire business models on it, why not? The more shocking the story is, the more eyeballs and ad revs go to it, and you’re always just a redaction away from staying out of libel trouble. And since these stories only need to be “out there” for an hour or less anyway in order to generate their traffic, it doesn’t hurt you to redact after an hour – and then the redaction itself generates even MORE traffic to your site! Why didn’t I think of that??

  6. Why not? Hmm, fat ass criminal charges might be a hindrance. Blatantly illegal, and fairly easy to track, no? Anyone remember the idiot college kid that issued spoof negative news in Emulex? Worst part, stock drop 50-60 points intraday, he made around 20G’s. If you are looking for the vogue rumor scam, and dig conspiracy theories, I’d posit it’s foreign journalists on various payrolls. The rumors relayed thru otherwise legit publication in South America, Israel etc. … nice work if you can get it, extremely unlikely to get probed by the SEC.

  7. It may have been Paul who said this, but I can’t be sure, but what is the obsession with quarterly reports and hiding stuff? It came up over the HP email thing. In a day and age when you can get information at the touch of a button and you can literally know at every moment how a business is performing, why are we still clinging to this out-dated system?
    Unless the institutional brokers WANT this system in place so they can manipulate it. I mean, there’s no incentive to change the system when all the incentive is in abusing it.
    And just to throw more gas into the fire, in a day and age when we’re so obsessed with terrorism, that’s fewer resources devoted to looking for the garden-variety stock manipulation. If it doesn’t tie into a terrorist plot, it’s unlikely anyone will dig too hard into this (or HP’s) cases.

  8. I think it was an internal mole hunt within apple to see who is leaking information. they have always been very sensitive to leaks and the iphone is arguabley the biggest media launch apple has ever undertaken. weed out the leaks early so that come real launch time the media will be utterly surprised when the iphone launches with 3G and 16GB….

  9. Well since Apple is well known for being forthcoming with information I’m sure it would be really easy for a journalist to have Apple confirm a rumor, NOT!!!
    Don’t kid yourself. It is easier to find the secret to immortality than to get a straight answer from Steve Jobs and Apple. They (Apple) only steps out of the shadows when you twist their arm.
    I can really see that the majority of posters here are not too familiar with Apple’s PR policy and the way they deal with the press.
    Apple’s own policy is to never to talk to the press unless it is to confirm what it sent them in a press release. So if you got some scoop from an inside source at Apple there is no way to confirm this unless you had an official press release which you most likley won’t have since the scoop is most likley about some delay or some negative thing. Not exactly the kind of info Apple would have on a press release.

  10. Premise1 : Apple is a secretive corporation
    Premise2 : Any insider information coming from Apple is more valuable than gold.
    Premise3 : We have all learned our lesson from the HP debacle.
    At least one of the above is wrong. Can you tell me which one? Worth may be on to something, but I think Jiller is right on the nose. Dave, the reason corporations engage in illegal behavior is that there is practically no consequence for doing so. Just look at HP. They engaged in what I would describe as private domestic spying, but who paid what price? They are still in business. Shareholders are happy. No one cares, now.
    I’m not saying Apple did this, but if I were in charge of internal security at Apple, I would design this experiment :
    1) create fake email, believable.
    2) set up screens to see who is emailing whom on what networks.
    3) Release said email.
    4) Watch the fun begin.
    5) After a certain time, retract the email.
    Now, you have a small, controlled window of time in which to gather your information. Cuts down on the “sending random information to my grandma” noise.
    The problem with this is : monitoring internal emails is not illegal. In fact, any good corporations will monitor its internal email system to make sure its employees are not trading files (or shares) on the side.
    Releasing information known to be false, for the purpose of ferreting out a mole? Definitely unethical, but illegal? I don’t know.
    Stock took a fall? There is such a thing as buying stock, you know.

  11. “I’m not saying Apple did this, but if I were in charge of internal security at Apple, I would design this experiment :”
    If they were going to do that, they’d surely send an email about something less critical than the iPhone.