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Forbes: Apple Bites The Fans That Feed It

updated 11:00 am EST, Fri January 7, 2005

Redux on Apple lawsuit says that Apple's lawsuit against a Mac rumor site for publishing industry rumors is : "this sort of stuff happens all the time in the tech industry. Sources leak details of forthcoming products to reporters whose motivation is to get credit for an exclusive story. Here's the difference with Apple: most of its secret product news is not published first by national, mainstream media, but by Apple advocates. These people are customers, fans and Apple-lovers. This community gives Apple untold free--and mostly positive--publicity and buzz about upcoming products and strategies. They salivate over every upgrade."

by MacNN Staff




  1. waffffffle

    Joined: Dec 1969



    The rumor sites cannot be categorized as Mac fan sites. They are sites that Mac fans visit, for dirt on Apple, but the sites themselves have informants who break NDA contracts with Apple, and are most likely paid for their information. This isn't Apple slapping down a fan site, this is Apple plugging up leaks and pursuing those who violate their contracts. Apple has not gone too far.

    Lets not forget the Workerbee scandal from years ago. Apple had every right to do that, just like they do now.

  1. fritzw1957

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: WRONG

    > The rumor sites cannot be categorized as Mac fan sites.

    What are they then? Sites for Windows fans? Even Microsoft tolerates blogging by it's employees...

    > They are sites that Mac fans visit, for dirt on Apple, but the sites themselves have informants who break NDA contracts with Apple, and are most likely paid for their information.

    You have PROOF of this? Contact Apple legal - I'm sure they'd LOVE to talk to you. :-)

    > Lets not forget the Workerbee scandal from years ago. Apple had every right to do that, just like they do now.

    It wasn't that long ago... and yes, Apple had the right to terminate his employment, because he DID violate the NDA that every employee in Corporate must routinely sign as part of his indoctrination papers (You have papers? Where are your papers? ;-) It didn't help matters any when said employee was using e-mail to notify Think Secret and a few other sites with gossip about forthcoming products.

    What Apple (READ: STEVEN P. JOBS) is really doing is generating BUZZ about the new products and by shutting down the web/satellite broadcasts, it's free publicity for them!

    Going after the media is a little like biting the hand that feeds you... and those in the audience Tuesday morning will be busily typing away on their laptops, PDA's and cell phones to make sure that the rumour sites get the straight dope from MWSF '05. They can't restrict access to the media, IF THEY"VE BEEN INVITED TO ATTEND - and they have been.

    'nuff said...

  1. awcopus

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Mac Fans, even most of the zealots, are not idiots. Apple is going after individuals who violated contractual obligations to keep their mouths shut about products Apple expects to create revenue streams from... revenue that competitors are quite eager to direct their way as soon as possible.

    Apple has no choice but to pursue this and do so intenely. Otherwise, every employee or vendor with whom it has an NDA in place right now will think less of it and be more inclined to jeopardize Apple going forward.

  1. JohnnyFive

    Joined: Dec 1969



    They were probably trying to save legal fees by going to a full-blown lawsuit rather than repeatedly asking their lawyers to fire C&D letters to rumour sites. I guess those C&Ds were costing them too much.

  1. alex627

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Apple's revenue has NOTHING to do with rumor sites. Blaming websites for posting information that 99% of all potential customers never see is stupid. You people who defend corporations for frivolous lawsuits are the same corporate lackeys who then turn-around and ridicule citizens for bringing frivolous lawsuits.

    You assume that since it is a corporation bringing the suit it is not frivolous. And thus you are selling yourself and your fellow man out. You want huge corporations to control our lives. You love it! You love freedom! Just like Iraqis!

    The USA. Installing freedom and democracy around the world.

  1. rjlawrencejr

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Keep in mind...

    There is much more money at stake too. I have seen other posts regarding the possible volatility of Apple's stock price in terms of increased exuberance if the rumor is for a product Apple has decided not to make or market.

    Apple wants to make sure that they aren't sued by overzealous stockholders who accuse the company of mismanagement.

  1. jconstant

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Not Frivolous

    Those of you that think this is frivolous needs to read this:

  1. ZinkDifferent

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Think Stupid..!

    I have very little sympathy for 'Nick DePlume' and 'ThinkSecret', and I sincerely hope that Apple will thoroughly gut them, figure out the Apple employees that have repeatedly leaked such information, and make a big, painful example off them.

    Seriously, I see a big difference between playful and speculative rumor discussions, and the blatant disregard and lack of respect for Apple (read: Steve Jobs) and their desire to have a keynote the way they want it to be - which, at least to me, has always been enjoyable.

    All a site like ThinkSecret can hope to achieve is primarily steal Apple's thunder, if these products really are about to be announced, and secondarily harm Apple, if such products were not to be announced (or if there is a last minute change of plans to not announce said product) - as then people will have built-up expectations that won't be met.

    As such, particularly TS's continued blatant disregard for Apple by continuing to post more such 'news' (the current FlashPod blurb), really makes me wonder on whose side they really are on - certainly *not* Apple's side - and what axe NickDePlume really has to grind. Either way, I hope he gets burnt, big time, as should his informants.


  1. abe2

    Joined: Dec 1969



    These 'customers' are hardly customers when they violate contract-law and/or dessiminate trade secrets and possibly hit your bottom-line.

    Obviously an attempt by a 2-bit author trying to get more hits to their crappy articles.

  1. ScottEllsworth

    Joined: Dec 1969


    It is hardley firivous


    Did you read the articles on think secret? The breakout box article had the clear look of a trade secret document, which weans that Nick should have had at least a qualm about covering it.

    Consider: that device cost Apple millions to design and create. Shouldn't they be the ones to decide when and how to announce it?

    It is hardly frivolous for a company to go after people who broke confidentiality agreements or employment contracts. TS likely knows who those people are, which will allow Apple to sue them under the contracts they signed.

    I actually feel rather sorry for the people who worked on some of these products. They have not been able to talk about their work for months, and now they may lose their moment in the sun at MWSF, because someone broke the news first. That cuts down greatly on the impact of the new product.


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