The Negative Impact of Tech Rumors

When there is no real tech news to report, rumors provide enticing fodder that bring readers and clicks to websites to generate ad revenue. Other than providing tech fantasy entertainment to readers, there are not many tangible advantages to tech rumors.

Here are some of the negative aspects to product speculation and rumors:

  • MARKETING CONFUSION — Companies and their marketing teams spend a lot of energy researching the best messaging and schedule for product announcements. Having a clear and consistent message is important. If many people are generating speculative stories, it’s hard for consumers to have a clear understanding of what to expect and what a company is planning.
  • POOR CONSUMER DECISIONS — Consumers may make decisions to buy or wait based on rumors that have no basis in reality. Tech rumors are often for entertainment purposes only. When consumers learn of possible features earlier than planned, it can result in diverted sales. For example, if someone really wants a new smartphone with USB C, and learns from a leak that the new Apple iPhones are anticipated to have Lighting ports again, they might purchase another brand (assuming they are not dependent on the Apple ecosystem). If the information was incorrect, and the new iPhones have USB C, the person will be disappointed. Or, let’s say the rumors point to Apple continuing to have a limited number of USB C ports on their MacBook Pro computers. A person may go ahead and purchase the current models. Then, an unexpected design change may result in Apple releasing their new MacBook Pro computers with HDMI, a MagSafe power connector, and SD Card reader. Someone spending $2,000 on an old design, who really would like those extra ports, would be upset. In other words, errors of omission, and errors of incorrect speculation can all be harmful to consumers.
  • TIMING — Those who are first to market with an innovation get credited for those developments. Here’s an example… Let’s say Apple has spent millions on developing VR technology and plans to roll-out some new tech or service in a year. If rumors are propagated, perhaps based leaked details from insiders, or based on patents and people recently hired, other companies may speed up their release of a VR product. Even if it’s not fully developed, the company can get credit for being first to market.