Agreed. But perhaps looking at Tim's business partners is useful in understanding the context of the disavowal.
In my mind, I speculate on two situations, not mutually exclusive. (1) Ashlee really did muff the quote (motivation: lazy, sloppy, or something like it). He really seems like a nice guy, though I can't speak to his habits or prior reporting. Mistakes happen; this isn't the worst error I've seen in a newspaper.
(2) Tim wants to walk back his loose, negative talk (motivation: preserving relationship with Microsoft, including a material one, his co-publishing deal with Microsoft Press). [http://oreilly.com/pub/pr/2413]
Though now that I think of it, Tim probably had the sense not to be quite so nakedly dismissive of a partner so important, and especially one so touchy. Tim does have a great reason to bite his tongue, that's all.