Apple media event news leaked by 16-year-old kid who can’t spell?

August 5, 2007

Apple media event news leaked by 16-year-old kid who can't spell? Just two days out from the much talked-about Apple media event, almost every tech site has been speculating about what wondrous news Apple will announce. So it was interesting to see reports appear earlier today citing an “inside source” who revealed that Macbooks will get Santa Rosa chipsets, the Mac Mini will be get a bigger hard disk, iMacs will get brushed aluminum casing, and new iPods will arrive in September.

The email that started the rumor was apparently from Google Product Manager Tom Oliveri. 

At this point you’d have to wonder why a top Google executive would be leaking news about another company’s products, and at least one site smelt a rat.

engadget googled the email address of the sender of the email, and found it belonged a 16-year-old Australian kid who apparently has the same name as the Google product manager. engadget was even to locate a picture of the teenage prankster, who seems to have a penchant for being photographed with margarine (well I guess it keeps him off the streets). 

As engadget pointed out, the “real” Tom Oliveri, has a somewhat better grasp of the English language than the kid at the center of this controversy. Here’s a copy of the email that started the rumor:

Name: Tom
Email: [deleted]

Macbooks – no cosmetic changes will be getting santa rosa chips
mac mini will receive a stock 120gb HDD total form change, all brushed aluminum 15% smaller
and the iMacs will be, as rumored brushed aluminum
new ipods will be rolling around mid September
I will update you on our phone later this month ( one week prior to announcement )


Tom Oliveri, Google Product Marketing Manager

And here’s something from the real Tom Oliveri:

10/25/2005 05:02:00 PM

Posted by Tom Oliveri, Product Marketing Manager
You may have seen stories today reporting on a new product that we’re testing, and speculating about our plans. Here’s what’s really going on. We are testing a new way for content owners to submit their content to Google, which we hope will complement existing methods such as our web crawl and Google Sitemaps. We think it’s an exciting product, and we’ll let you know when there’s more news.

I won’t comment on the sites that were duped by this practical joke, after all, people in glass houses shouldn’t throw rocks. But it is interesting how easy it is to start a rumor, and how willingly sites will jump onto anything that seems semi-plausible. It also emphasizes why it’s important to treat rumors with a pinch of salt.

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