Hugh Pickens writes "The NY Times has a story on the culture of secrecy at Apple (registration possibly required). Secrecy is not just the prevailing communications strategy; it is baked into the corporate culture that had its origin in the release of the first Macintosh. 'It really started around trying to keep the surprise aspect to product launches, which can have a lot of power,' says marketing veteran Regis McKenna who advised Apple in its early days. Today few companies are more secretive than Apple, or as punitive to those who dare violate the company's rules on keeping tight control over information. Employees have been fired for leaking news tidbits to outsiders, and the company has been known to spread disinformation about product plans to its own workers and sue bloggers who cover the company. Apple's decision to severely limit communication with the news media, shareholders, and the public is at odds with the approach taken by many other companies, and many experts agree that the secrecy that adds surprise and excitement to Apple product announcements is not serving the company well in corporate governance. Some say that recent reports that Steve Jobs may have had a liver transplant, still not confirmed by the company, now makes one of Apple's assertions from January — that Jobs was suffering only from a hormonal imbalance — seem like a deliberate untruth."