Bloomberg competitors, ranging from Thomas Reuters on the terminal side to News Corp on the media side, probably can't believe their good luck. That huge and respected Bloomberg brand just took a major hit. Could it be fatal? Time will tell. Meanwhile, the politicos could get an edge by zeroing in investigating what has just been disclosed.
THE NEW YORK POST, owned by News Corp, broke the story that the 2,400 Bloomberg News reporters had access to the activities of Wall Street subscribers on the 315,000 Bloomberg terminals. Now, THE NEW YORK TIMES has made that story legitimate. Here you can read the detailed coverage of a scandal which can make the high-risk trading at JP Morgan Chase and the allegedly non-client-centric folks at Goldman Sachs seem like petty stuff.
In a nutshell, Bloomberg News reporters could log into the accounts of terminal subscribers and track a lot. That could provide the reporter with unique insight about what the traders could be planning to do. For example, if they kept checking X category, reporters could parachute in and start nosing around that area, gather information, and try connecting the dots.
This could spread beyond Wall Street. As THE NEW YORK TIMES reports:
"Banking regulators at the Federal Reserve are examining whether their own employees were subject to tracking by Bloomberg reporters, according to people briefed on the matter."
The scope of the possible mischief is the stuff new brandnames are made of and current brandnames can be given a major boost. Could Bloomberg terminals and Bloomberg News go out of business? That will depend on how aggressively competitors and politicos pursue this matter. Meanwhile ethics experts can opine on how our society has to re-think the extent it will go to in order to get an edge. That edge could turn on the edge-holder, delivering a deadly wound.