The controversy surrounding Steve Jobs’ most recent email has taken on a life of its own. If you recall, Boy Genius Report recently published an email exchange involving Jobs and an angry iPhone 4 owner. The angry iPhone 4 owner (some doofus named Jason Burford) was particularly obnoxious, and ultimately prompted Steve Jobs to write back that Burford should relax, and that “it is just a phone.” Later, BGR attributed those comments to Burford and not to Jobs.
A few hours after the Steve Jobs email plowed its way through the blogosphere, Apple PR officially denied that the email conversation took place. And just when it appeared that we were all taken for a ride by Mr. Buford, BGR is steadfastly standing by the accuracy of its post, alleging that if anyone is taking anyone for a ride, it’s Apple. Put simply, BGR is claiming that Apple PR effectively lied about the veracity of the email string.
Jason Burford, someone who we have never worked with in the past, emailed us and said that he had a pretty interesting email conversation with Steve Jobs and wanted to share it with us, but wanted to be compensated. He sent us the email headers and we had some of our independent tech guys verify the email header information and then inform us whether they were legitimate. Their response was yes, that they were legitimate, and that the entire thread would be extremely hard to fake, if not impossible. After speaking with Jason and getting more background, I decided to run that story. There was an error in my write up where the last line in the article was written to be said by Steve Jobs, when in fact it was Jason who emailed that in reply to Steve Jobs.
Adding yet another soap opera twist to this tale, Buford had previously shopped around his email exchange with Jobs to other tech websites such as AppleInsider.
So, there’s a lot to take in here, and while we obviously can’t get to the bottom of this ourselves, here are few talking points to think about.
1. Steve Jobs knows for a fact whether or not the emails were real. If Apple PR officially denied they were real, it was presumably at the behest of Jobs himself. Would Jobs lie about this? Was Apple PR horrified at the email exchange and subsequently tell Jobs that issuing a denial would be a proper course of action?
2. This guy Jason Burford works for an ad firm and finds it completely normal to troll a CEO and sell the ensuing email string for a few hundred bucks. Forgive us for stereotyping, but ad agency + troll usually = publicity whore.. Not only that, but the emails in question were signed with a fictitious name, Tom. So while it seems entirely unlikely that Burford would go to the trouble of forging the published headers, he doesn’t exactly seem like a trustworthy source. On a related note, is there any indication that Burford even has the technical know-how to forge email headers?
3. Assuming that the emails ARE real, what about them got under someone at Apple’s skin so much that Apple PR had to get involved? If anything, the email thread depicts Burford as a douche, and the controversial line about the iPhone 4 being “just a phone” was later attributed to Burford and not Jobs.
4. Is it possible that the emails were sent from Steve Jobs’ email inbox, but were actually composed by another Apple employee? That also begs the question – Was Apple denying that the emails came from Steve Jobs’ inbox, or merely denying that Steve Jobs had penned them?
Well, that’s a wrap, and we’re not quite sure who or what to believe. BGR actively maintains that the emails are legit, and we doubt Apple PR will be chiming in on this saga anytime soon. File this one away as an “Unsolved Mystery.” Now if only Robert Stack were still around, he’d get to the bottom of this in no time.
Happy 4th ya’ll.