A week ago the WSJ published an interview with the CEO of Best Buy - Brian Dunn - in which it was reported he had said the iPad was cannibalising mobile PC sales by as much as 50 percent.
Also last week, a Chinese website reported that Yahoo was looking into selling its 39 percent stake in Chinese internet conglomerate Alibaba Group for up to $11 billion. Then, yesterday, TechCrunch reported that Facebook is working on an own-branded phone.
The thing all these stories have in common is that they have moved the PR operations of the companies in question to issue statements in response to the stories. The statement in the WSJ interview only became an issue when the rest of the web belatedly picked up on it.
This sudden mass regurgitation of a statement from its CEO apparently saying notebooks are dead understandably alarmed the communications department of one of the world's biggest PC retailers, so it badgered Dunn into issuing a clarifying statement:
"The reports of the demise of these devices are grossly exaggerated," Dunn said. "While they were fuelled in part by a comment in the Wall Street Journal that was attributed to me, they are not an accurate depiction of what we're currently seeing. In fact, we see some shifts in consumption patterns, with tablet sales being an incremental opportunity.
"And as we said during our recent earnings call, we believe computers will remain a very popular gift this holiday because of the very distinct and desirable benefits they offer consumers. That's why we intend to carry a broad selection of computing products and accessories to address the demand we anticipate this season."
Yahoo's PRs also had to to a bit of damage repair on behalf of its CEO. Carol Bartz responded to the Alibaba story by telling Reuters Yahoo has no plans to sell its stake. By Friday she had been persuaded to issue the following formal statement: "Our investment as a shareholder in Alibaba Group is strategic and a great one for our company and our shareholders.
"As an investor, Yahoo has no operational control in the Group and we're very supportive of the operational direction Jack Ma and his team are taking the Group. Jack is clearly one of the most impressive entrepreneurs of our time. We are not going to comment on any private discussions we may or may not have with our strategic partners. As with all matters like this, any decisions regarding this investment would be driven by what will create the most value for our shareholders."