Popular opinion has it that journalists are gossips at heart. And ARN appears to be no exception to the rule if you count the number of phone calls that start with "Now you didn't hear this from me, but did you know that . . . ".
Unfortunately, as interesting as many of these stories are, they either don't turn into hard news or they would only lead to libel actions if we published them. But still, many do lead to good stories, and are critical in providing you with essential information. If we sourced our news from press releases alone it'd be a dull world indeed.
By the time this paper is out the Federal budget will have been revealed. In the couple of weeks prior to this the hot topic for our industry was whether or not sales tax was to be imposed on software. Quite a few people told us they'd heard it on good authority from someone who knew someone that it really was going to happen.
And when the speculation hit the daily press, we had to start taking it seriously . . . after all, it was in black and white! At the time of writing this I don't know if it's going to happen or not. We've heard this story before . . . every year, in fact. Now it might be true, or it might not, but like all information received, we have to look into it.
And if it isn't true, why did the rumour start? Was it a case of the government spreading a bad story and then bringing down a milder budget so we'd feel a perverse sense of relief? Was it spread by enemies of the government to gather support? Or was it even spread by one or more large computer reseller chains in order to sell a ton of software in the week before the budget?
The joke about the last suggestion is that most buyers would probably get soon-to-be-outdated versions, so they'd have to upgrade before long anyway.
Let me assure you, we do appreciate your "intelligence" about happenings of interest to ARN readers. If it hadn't been for a few "anonymous" calls about the imminent closure of Merisel earlier this year, we wouldn't have been on the spot as it happened.
Apple has also been the subject of "information received" over the past couple of weeks. We've heard stories of Apple setting up a chain of franchised stores, of Apple resellers being told they'll be dropped if they try to sell clones, and even of Apple opening its own retail stores around Australia, staffed by Apple employees.
Now you didn't hear this from me, but confidentially, journalists DO love rumours.