Morin goes back on transparency pledge, refuses to confirm or deny report that Apple is buying Path
Last night, Pando's Michael Carney cited a well-placed source who claims that Apple is on the verge of buying flailing social network, Path. Today, on stage at TechCrunch Disrupt, Path founder Dave Morin was asked about the report.
Morin's response was straight from the Dummies Guide To Media Training: “We don’t comment on rumors or speculation.” When TechCrunch's Matthew Panzarino pointed out “that’s not a no,” Morin repeated his response.
There are a couple of things to note here. For one thing, from a PR point of view, Morin's response was exactly right. If the deal is about to happen, then he's hardly going to confirm it on stage to a reporter ahead of time. If the deal isn't about to happen, Morin can still benefit from the idea that Path is still valuable to someone.
And yet, it's interesting how Morin's "no comment" flies in the face of a promise he made to Pando's Sarah Lacy last year about how he and Path would deal with the press in future. As Sarah explained at the time:
I explained the problem from the journalists’ side, and asked Morin what he proposed for a publication and entrepreneurs who want to start having a fairer dialog. Not a favorable one, but a fair one. Something that helps readers more than the denial, the reporter speculation, and the rewritten press release.
He said for his part he was no longer going to obfuscate anything. If a reporter gets a scoop, and it’s accurate and he or she calls him up, he’ll say congratulations and tell them to run with it. No more playing games. Given Morin's response on stage today, and the fact Carney contacted him last night for comment but received no response, perhaps a more accurate promise would have been "No more playing games, unless I'm scared shitless of upsetting Apple."