Dan Lyons, Stephen Levy, Newsweek and Apple – Oh My!

Thu, Apr 8, 2010


There’s nothing like a scrappy Silicon Valley scandal to liven up the day. Well, this isn’t as much of a scandal as it is a “he said, she said” type of situation.

Here’s the scoop.

Dan Lyons recently appeared on CNN where he said that prior to his hiring at Newsweek, outgoing tech writer Stephen Levy passed on word to his superiors at Newsweek that Apple PR was none too thrilled about the possibility of Lyons writing for the magazine – ostensibly to prevent him from getting the job.

Levy, incensed at Lyons’ remarks, fired back and said that he did no such thing. In an email to Silicon Alley Insider, Levy wrote, “Dan was hired after I left and I had no input whatsoever into his hiring. I did not lobby against his hiring, nor did Apple ask me to lobby against it.”

Soon thereafter, Lyons apologized for his remarks, only to come back and shed some more light on the situation. It turns out, so says Lyons, that Levy didn’t try and prevent Lyons from getting the job, but merely told the higher-ups at Newsweek about Apple’s concern after it was revealed that Lyons would be heading up tech-writing duties at the magazine.

Lyons explains in an email to Silicon Alley Insider:

Here is what happened. My hiring was announced on June 13, 2008. But my start date wasn’t until September 2008.

On June 30, 2008, I got an email from my editor at Newsweek saying that Apple was already complaining about me being hired — before I had even started working at Newsweek.

I followed up and was told that Steven Levy had told theĀ Business Editor at Newsweek that he (Levy) had talked to Apple PR and that Apple PR was not pleased that Newsweek had hired me.

I was bothered by this, and wrote to Apple PR on that same day, June 30, 2008, and said I’d heard they were upset about me being hired at Newsweek and could we find a way to work together.

On July 1, 2009, I wrote to Steven Levy, to find out what Apple had said to him. Later that day Steven and I talked on the phone. He confirmed that someone in Apple PR had complained to him about Newsweek hiring me.

So: Apple PR complained to Steven Levy. Steven Levy told an editor at Newsweek that Apple had complained to him. That editor told a higher-up. The higher-up told me.

Now why wouldn’t Apple be thrilled at the prospect of Lyons writing for Newsweek? Well, it might have a little something to do with Lyons’ work as the Fake Steve Jobs. In any event, Lyons and Newsweek have had no access to Apple since he was brought on, and Lyons has routinely written vitriolic screeds about Apple and Steve Jobs ever since.

And if ya don’t know, now ya know.


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