Rumours, Apple stock and Engadget

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Will Head writes…

Engadget put the frighteners on Apple investors yesterday when it published a piece about the iPhone and Leopard being delayed.

Unfortunately the information that the post was based on was actually a fake email someone had managed to circulate internally at Apple so it appeared to be an official memo.

Panic selling ensued, at one point knocking $4bn off Apple’s share value, although it bounced back once the error was acknowledged. It’s scary to think that a post based on an internal email was sufficient to have such a knock on effect on the stock market.

Was it all just a prank that went a bit too far, or was there something more sinister at work?

As the fake email apparently went out to all staff members, Engadget just got caught up in the middle of it – it would no doubt have been leaked elsewhere. But what was the reason for fake email in the first place?

While it’s easy to see it as just a bit of ill-conceived fun, if someone really wanted to make some easy money and predicted such a rumour to cause a slump in Apple stock then they could make a tidy profit buying at the right time before the price goes back up.

What about the people that lost money selling their shares, thinking it was going to go down further? While it’s easy to say they should have waited to see what Apple said officially, the drop off happened over less than ten minutes which is a very short period of time.

The internet means that information can travel around the world faster than ever. Unfortunately it makes no guarantee whether that information is correct or not, which can have disastrous effects when staggering amounts of money are tied up in how people feel about a particular company.

Will Head