OLD Media Moves

Tech journalists need to learn something about business

August 22, 2012

Posted by Chris Roush

Steve Wildstrom, who used to cover technology for BusinessWeek, writes for Techpinions.com that too many tech writers don’t look at the numbers or don’t know what to make of them if they do.

Wildstrom writes, “A week ago, Engadget published a thinly sourced report that Microsoft would sell its new Surface tablet for an improbable $199. Despite a lack of any further confirmation, the report was endlessly repeated, commented upon, and used as the basis for endless speculation. My colleague Tim Bajarin did a very effective job of puncturing the rumor, based on supply chain reporting and his extensive knowledge of the industry. What very few others did was to look at the report with a jaundiced eye and ask whether such an action made any business sense for Microsoft.

“This is a rampant problem in technology journalism today, whether in print, online, or broadcast. Many technology writers appear to have little interest in the business side of their industry and little background or training in the intricacies of operations or finance. If they ever read financial reports, it doesn’t show in their work. I doubt that most of them know an S-2 from a 10-K. And this is unfortunate because it often produces shallow and uninformed reporting.

“Let’s go back to that $199 Surface. The Surface is the most interesting product announcement from Microsoft in many years because it represents an important break with the company’s core business model of  licensing software while leaving the hardware business to its OEM customers (Yes, Xbox is an exception, but a very limited one. We’ll get to that in a bit.)”

Read more here.

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