Ars Technica had a cool story earlier this week: It got its hands on a report from research firm NPD that showed Apple (AAPL) had overtaken Wal-Mart to become the biggest music retailer. That’s an interesting milestone, and one that Apple itself trumpeted a day later.
There was some scepticism about the report, based on documents Ars had gotten from a source at Apple, where they were being passed around via email. But luckily, you could see for yourself: Ars had published the docs on its site.
We have seen some stories this morning claiming to have debunked this report based on conjecture (no factual detail or analysis). We repeat: the document says what we said it says, and you can see it for yourself. The documents were also distributed to Apple employees, and show Apple as the number-one music retailer during the period in question.
No more. The links/files Ars had originally published are gone. “At the request of the NPD we have removed screenshots of the documents in question,” the site says now. But why comply with the request? After all, Ars isn’t a NPD client, so what’s the problem?
“We took them down after the NPD Group asked us very nicely to do so,” Ars managing editor Eric Bangeman tells us via e-mail. OK. Just for kicks, we asked NPD if they’d send us a copy of the same thing, or at least a cleaned up version (we’re particularly interested in Amazon’s MP3 sales).
Nope: “Unfortunately, the information reported is apparently based on a proprietary leaked internal memo from Apple; therefore, NPD cannot comment on it. This type of statement goes against our media publishing policy. It’s something we would never release, or permit to be released, by our clients,” NPD PR guy David Riley writes.
So there you have it: If anyone out there managed to snag a copy of ARS report before it disappeared, be advised that you’ve got a hot little document on yours hands (also, drop us a line).
Update: That was fast. An anonymous commenter sends in this link. And if that’s all there is, hard to see what the fuss is about — it’s basically the same numbers Ars still has in the post (with slight differences). Are we missing something?
See Also: Amazon MP3 Sales Underwhelming?
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