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Google’s media blackout works a treat

Posted by Danny Whatmough on 15th August 2011

Yesterday, Google shocked the technology (and tech PR) industry by announcing the acquisition of mobile phone manufacturer Motorola in a $12.5 (cash) deal. I use the word “shocked” very deliberately as this really did take most people by surprise.

Too big to leak?

In a world where deals such as these are increasingly leaked days in advance, with rumour and speculation resulting in the final event becoming a bit of a damp squib, this announcement was out of the blue.

And this ‘surprise factor’ was no more evident than on the web, with technology publications scrambling to get the news out quicker than their rivals. Many simply copied and pasted the official press release in a desire to at least get ‘something’ up.

A media bun fight

Our estimation was that Business Insider was among the first to publish, with V3 here in the UK also getting an honourable mention in the speed stakes.

So is this a tech PR masterstroke by Google? It’s certainly impressive that the search-giant-turned-mobile-behemoth managed to keep the news so incredibly quiet, but also interesting to note that it didn’t even decide to prebrief any key press under embargo, instead calling a press conference shortly after the news hit the wires.

Of course, where Google is concerned and with an announcement as big as this, the chances that every tech and business title under the sun (and then some) wouldn’t write about it is unthinkable.

Just reporting the news

By keeping the news user wraps Google also gave the media little time to come up with tonnes of speculation about the ‘real’ reasons behind the purchase, they just had to report the story as quickly as possible. That’s not to say that the opinion pieces haven’t started to roll out now and there are plenty of questions about this announcement and what it means for the wider tech industry. But at least at launch Google was able to just get the news reported.

So I for one am pretty impressed by the announcement. The only thing Google’s tech PR team might like to work on next time round is the canned comment supplied with the announcement as these quotes are just embarrassingly bad!

picture credit

Danny Whatmough