UPDATED: Seagate switches call to avoid Apple steamroll

April 19, 2010


Technology companies know better than to release a new product on the same day as Apple, a master at the art of dominating the news cycle.

Apparently, the same rule holds true for quarterly earnings reports as well.

With just a day to go until it’s slated to hold an earnings conference call with analysts, hard drive maker Seagate Technology is scrambling¬†to get out of Apple’s way.

Company representatives emailed and called some members of the press on Monday morning to alert them of last-minute schedule changes. With basically the entire tech world eagerly anticipating a briefing on the latest sales data of iPhones, Macs and iPads at 2pm on Tuesday, Seagate apparently concluded that its own plan to discuss shipments of 3.5-inch hard drives at 2pm might not draw a big audience, particularly as 11 of the 25 analysts that cover Seagate also cover Apple.

Instead, the hard drive maker will hold its call at 3pm PST on Tuesday.

Earnings season is always a hectic time, with a barrage of press releases, overlapping conference calls and stock price swings.

And every once in a while, two companies with similar products and investors will schedule calls at the same time, until one blinks: Tobacco makers Philip Morris International and Reynolds American had conference calls scheduled for the same time last summer, until one finally rescheduled at the last minute.

But Apple, which has a whopping $220 billion market cap, is a force of its own. ¬†The new rule seems to be that it’s best to stay out of the Mac maker’s way on earnings day — unless, perhaps, a company has some bad news that it hopes the market will miss amidst all the Apple hoopla.

UPDATE: A Seagate representative said the new conference call time was announced April 8.

(Hard drive-in-space image courtesy of Seagate, photo retouch by Ian Sherr)

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