Making fun of badly written press announcements and empty CEO-blather shouldn't really be a specialty - all journalists should contribute - but Lucy Kellaway of the Financial Times seems to have grabbed it anyway, delighting back on August 19 with a column on Google's announcement that it had bought Motorola.
“Together, we will create amazing user experiences that supercharge the entire Android ecosystem for the benefit of consumers, partners and developers. I look forward to welcoming Motorolans to our family of Googlers.”
These 32 words were last week repeated uncritically in newspapers all over the world, but no one seems to have stopped to wonder: what on earth was he on about?
Lucy then goes on to deconstruct every noun and verb in the sentence to explain what each cliched term was intended to communicate - and implicitly how far from the truth it landed. You need to read the whole thing to get it, very worth it.
My answer is that journalists have broadly given up on expecting CEOs to make sense. In part, this response is expected based on the risk executives incurr from communicating clearly. After one too many announcements like that from a company like Google that you can't just ignore, they've started to just use the canned quotes and then try to get the truth into the article elsewhere.
The great stories either get the executives on the record saying something coherent, or just make fun of the whole process. And to Google's credit, at least they put what they hoped to accomplish with the deal ahead of the vacuous quote about how happy they are to have done it.
Aside from Barak Obama signing the debt ceiling increase, when was the last time an executive made an announcement and then went on to say how unhappy he was that he was forced into it?