Apple’s lawsuits to guard against rumor sites cause sour taste for some

“Rumormongering about the latest creations from Apple Computer Inc. is as much a part of the Apple experience as the one-button mouse. The notoriously secretive company is trying to change that by suing website operators that publish confidential details about unreleased products — and that may spur a backlash among techies who have admired Apple’s unconventional style,” Terril Yue Jones reports for The Los Angeles Times.

“‘You come off looking like a bully doing stuff like this,’ said Robert Thompson, a professor of media and popular culture at Syracuse University who has studied the social effect of Apple products. ‘You come off looking like the evil emperor.’ Jason O’Grady shared that view. O’Grady runs, one of countless websites devoted to chronicling every turn and wrinkle in Apple’s product lines. ‘I’m getting messages from people saying they’re not going to buy any more Apple stuff,’ he said. ‘They can’t believe that Apple is going after its biggest fans,'” Terril Yue Jones reports for The Los Angeles Times.

MacDailyNews Note: O’Grady’s PowerPage is one of the entities that Apple has subpoenaed in order to learn the identity of their sources.

“Darcy Travlos, an analyst in New York who follows Apple for CreditSights, an independent research firm, can see it both ways. Travlos said she had heard that some former employees of Apple with inside knowledge were responsible for the leaks, ‘and in that case Apple needs to protect its innovations and ideas that are coming out.’ Nonetheless, she said, ‘it was surprising that they came out so vigorously because it’s part of life in the technology world — press releases are frequently reported on before they come out.’ And enthusiast sites should be distinguished from rumor mongering sites, whose main purpose is to expose unpublicized news about Apple, said Jason Snell, executive director of MacWorld magazine,” Jones reports. “The latter ‘don’t exist for people to share their warm feelings about the Mac,’ Snell said. ‘These sites exist to do the equivalent of peeking under the wrapping of a Christmas present.'”

Full article here.

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Commentator: Apple need to patch its own ‘leaks’ to better protect trade secrets – March 07, 2005
Think Secret files motion to have Apple lawsuit dismissed – March 04, 2005
Attorneys expect decision ‘early next week’ on Apple trade secrets hearing – March 04, 2005
Forbes writer wonders if Apple is the new Microsoft – March 04, 2005
Apple wins initial ruling in ‘Asteriod’ case, can pursue publishers’ confidential sources – March 03, 2005
Apple suspends legal action against three journalists – February 17, 2005
ThinkSecret’s Ciarelli gains pro bono legal help in defense of Apple lawsuit – January 19, 2005
ThinkSecret’s Nick Ciarelli says he can’t afford to defend himself against Apple lawsuit – January 15, 2005
Harvard Student and ThinkSecret owner Nick Ciarelli faces Apple’s legal wrath over product ‘leaks’ – January 13, 2005
Stop the presses! Apple sues ThinkSecret over ‘Headless Mac,’ ‘iWork,’ and other rumors – January 05, 2005
Apple Computer sues three for posting Mac OS X ‘Tiger’ on Web – December 21, 2004
Apple sues anonymous people over leak of unreleased Apple product info on Web – December 17, 2004
RUMOR: Apple preps analog to FireWire audio device for GarageBand users – November 23, 2004


  1. Ah Omniweb. Once again I am popup ad free. And all other ads are blocked as well. Peace of mind. $30, but if Safari and Firefox can’t do the job…
    On subject:

    Why do websites feel they must out Apple’s secrets. Why not simply respect the fact that the company does not wish to announce their products and intentions UNTIL THEY WANT TO?

    If this is what you want to do, create a reality TV rumor website or something.

    There is reporting and there is industrial espionage. What the rumor sites are doing amounts to industrial espionage in my opinion. It’s not appreciated, and it can harm Apple’s stock price and bottom line.

    They should be sued right out of business.

  2. Oh yeah, it’s not part of life in the technology world either. I don’t see anyone rushing out with HP rumors and Dell rumors BECAUSE NO ONE CARES.

    With Apple it’s like the fashion industry or the automobile industry. Some are trend setters others are followers. Apple is the major trend setter and style developer for the computer industry. What Apple does is usually seen later on PCs. This is a major advantage for them and one of the things that keeps them in business.

    Rumor sites rob Apple of this advantage for nothing more than selling a few ads.

  3. Apple isn’t trying to stop the rumor sites from posting rumors about upcoming products, they just want to know where the leaks in their ship are.

    Apple won’t lose any sales over this, anyone who would dump Apple products over this needs his medication levels adjusted. If you appreciate the innovation that Apple puts in their products, then you’ll appreciate that Apple has to take steps to protect their IP.

    my 2¢

  4. You don’t get it. No one is going to dump Apple products over this. Apple has a RIGHT to protect their business and product directions. If I’m thinking of buying a new Mac Mini, and I hear that Apple is working on some newer faster Mac Mini, then I change my mind. I’ll wait and see what happens. If I’m Joe Blow PC maker and I’m gearing up to compete with the Mac Mini, and I hear that Apple is coming out with some new Pocket Mac, hmmm… I send a memo down to the boys in the lab to start working on something similar.

    Influencing my purchase decisions directly effects the company’s bottom line.

    Providing competitors with advanced information is industrial espionage.

    Even stock analysts have started watching the rumor sites. When all the crap about the Cell chip came out Apple’s stock went up, irrationally. No one from Apple said a word about the cell chip, yet the rumor sites went wild, and Apple’s stock went up.

    In that case it worked for Apple, but if the company had said, “we have no intention of using the cell” the stock would have crashed back down, possibly to a lower level because of anti-excitement.

    The little assholes including poor little still in college boy, need to shut the crap down. They aren’t journalists. They should also give up the names of those who spread the rumors.

  5. Thanks for pointing out the Gruber article. It is 100% right on. These sites never accept responsibility for their actions. What is the ripple effect of publishing an erroneous rumor about 3.0Ghz G5s? How many people hold off their purchases of an existing line indefinitely? In fact, what does it cost those who don’t purchase when they would have increased their productivity by purchasing the existing line?

    This sort of reporting belongs in the entertainment gossip arena. Is Julia Roberts pregnant again? It should not be tolerated in technology where serious financial decisions are being made.

  6. macnut222 hit the nail on the head. I read this article last night after work and it’s right on the money. The issue is not about the 1st Amendment- it’s about trade secret protection. The navel-gazing press ALWAYS think it’s about them.

  7. Apple has every right to pursue their leaks. Unfortunately, Apple’s attempt at scare tactics has backfired in their face. Subpoenaing contacts is one thing but suing a college kid is pathetic at best.

    As for the issue of online journalism, it is up to the courts to decide.

    I find it so funny that so many people here defend Apple at any cost. You must be either working for Apple or so far shoved up their ass that you can’t see the light

  8. If you know someone who breaks the law, aren’t you obligation to report that to the authority? Those who violated Apple’s confidential agreement are criminals and the press claims that they have the right to protect them? Basically the media can have it both ways therefore you cannot trust them at all. All journalism is yellow!!!! I really do NOT think Apple’s action against the criminals will hurt its sale. Just go to any Apple store on even a weekday and look at the check out line!

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.