Netflix logo on a building in Hollywood: What is the streaming service planning?
Photo: Robyn Beck / AFP
Let's put it this way: all three announcements that have been circulating on the internet in the past few days were credible.
Amazon Germany announced on an official help page that the minimum order value, from which customers without a Prime package no longer have to pay shipping costs, has risen from 29 to 39 euros - twice in a short time.
After Netflix had long announced measures against widespread account sharing, the streaming provider's help page suddenly contained details of new, compared to previously draconian rules.
The home network should suddenly play an important role.
And on an official Xbox help page, gamers noticed a hint that could be interpreted as Microsoft planning to close the online store for its 2005 Xbox 360 console in May.
In the meantime, however, all this information has disappeared from the help pages.
Amazon declared the information "that was briefly displayed on our help page" to be "incorrect".
Netflix, in turn, told US media that "a Help Center article with information that only applies to Chile, Costa Rica and Peru" was published in other countries for a short time.
And Microsoft emphasized that its message was "posted in error": It can be confirmed that the Xbox 360 Marketplace will not be closed in May 2023.
Was that really it?
Three tech giants making erroneous announcements within a few days that are likely to displease their customers?
In this accumulation and in view of the different topics, this will be more of a coincidence.
At the same time, however, it is noticeable in all three reports that the denials are soft as a diaper.
Amazon emphasizes that it "continues" to offer its customers free standard shipping for orders over 29 euros.
However, it remains unclear to what period of time this "further" refers.
And Netflix also seems to have deliberately kept the statement brief: It is said that the rules to be read actually relate to a different market.
At the same time, however, it cannot be ruled out that they could soon also be valid in Germany.
The platform has long announced that Netflix wants to restrict account sharing – and, also noteworthy, the rules were not only available in English, but also in German.
Someone had obviously already translated them.
In the case of Microsoft, the denial also leaves room for soon about-faces.
If the company puts it on record that it will not be closing the Xbox 360 online store in May 2023, might it just do so shortly afterwards?
The now updated Xbox Help page reads : "We will be closing the Xbox 360 Marketplace over the next year, so we encourage you to purchase Xbox 360 games and DLC [i.e. add-on content;
Editor's note] until May 2023.«
The next step for the companies will be exciting
It remains to be seen how exactly the three topics will continue.
For the affected customers, the officially accidental releases might even have been an advantage because – especially in the case of Netflix – massive online protests against the change immediately formed.
Some users immediately announce in forums that they want to cancel their subscription.
Netflix may now reconsider whether it would like to implement the outlined regulation in markets such as the USA and Germany in the foreseeable future.
At the same time, it's not an unrealistic tactic that tech companies might intentionally set the stage for awkward announcements with "accidents" or deliberate leaks.
After all, wouldn't it actually be helpful for companies if hard restrictions didn't just come out of nowhere, for example for long-time Netflix account sharers or the last remaining Xbox 360 users?
If the customers already knew roughly what to expect, even if it was from forums?
If one or the other who watches Netflix on a third party proactively prefers to get their own subscription?
Or if someone buys a Prime subscription because they are afraid that they will soon have to pay more shipping costs?
Precedents are plentiful: Shortly after taking over Twitter, Elon Musk publicly toyed with the idea of charging $20 a month for a verified account – only to end up selling the $8 service as a bargain.
But maybe in the end only employees in three companies accidentally pressed a »Publish« button.
Or all just a little early.