Apple’s ‘Asteroid’ just Steve Jobs’ version of the old ‘canary trap’ espionage trick?

“A judge ordered Apple last January to pay the $700,000 legal fees of two websites that reported on an unreleased product code-named “Asteroid.” Apple had sued the sites seeking the identities of leakers within its ranks, but lost the case,” Leander Kahney writes for Wired News.

Kahney writes, “I was talking recently with an ex-Apple staffer who worked high up at the company for many years, often closely with CEO Steve Jobs.”

Kahney writes, “The programmer, who asked not to be named, was convinced the Asteroid product was invented, a figment of Jobs’ imagination dreamed up to find the source of leaks — the old ‘canary trap.’ It’s an espionage trick used to find the source of a leak.”

Full article here.

Related articles:
Apple ordered to pay ‘Asteroid’ bloggers $700,000 in legal costs – January 29, 2007
Apple discontinues legal effort to expose ‘Asteroid’ leaker – July 12, 2006
The Great Apple Asteroid Hoax – June 09, 2006
Judge uses Wikipedia as source to blast Apple in ‘Asteroid’ case – May 30, 2006
Apple loses ‘Asteroid’ appeal in California’s 6th District Court – May 26, 2006
Apple questioned in ‘Asteroid’ trade secrets case – April 20, 2006
San Jose court to hear Apple ‘Asteriod’ case, weigh in on bloggers’ rights – April 17, 2006
Apple wins initial ruling in ‘Asteroid’ case, can pursue publishers’ confidential sources – March 04, 2005
Apple suspends legal action against three journalists – February 17, 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. “I was talking recently with an ex-Apple staffer who worked high up at the company for many years, often closely with CEO Steve Jobs.”

    Like a legal assistant that handles options dating?

  2. Hey Big Al…you mean…

    Paranoia strikes deep
    Into your life it will creep
    It starts when you’re always afraid
    You step out of line, the man come and take you away

    We better stop, hey, what’s that sound
    That’s the sound of Vista going down

  3. I have no problem with Apple using this ploy to track down leaks. Sounds completely sensible to me! There aren’t many ways for a company to protect itself today. Not illegal, is it?

    Although suing sites for damage where none exists since the product never existed was not a good move.

    I wonder if Apple ever got to the source of the leak.

    Probably not.

  4. Jobs makes millions of dollars in free advertising every time he steps onto a stage to reveal a new product. It’s called “event marketing,” and he learned it from his marketing mentor, John Sculley, who Jobs recruited to be Apple’s CEO in 1983.

    Is that true? I don’t think Steve Jobs learned it from his marketing mentor John. He had been like that before he hired John Sculley.

    Am I wrong?

  5. Steve –

    Next time, don’t bother with the lawsuit when you find the leakers. Just call me. For 5 grand a head and a free iPhone, I’ll take care of it for you permanently.

    But – no women, no kids…

  6. Asteroid was a real product tied to Garageband.

    Notice Apple hasn’t gone anywhere lately with that program?

    It’s like it dropped off the radar or something.

    It’s because Steve was so pissed about the leak that nobody wants to go there and risk losing their job.

  7. If Apple goes to such extremes to catch leakers of their technical secrets, then how is it that the iPhone managed to get copied by so many companies? How come they took Nick Ciarelli of Harvard’s Thinksecret to court, but aren’t suing the iPhone clone people? Does this mean that the iPhone isn’t worth anything to Apple? If that’s so, why are they getting the whole world all stirred up over its releese?

    Somebody explain this to me?

    Do I “really” want an iPhone or is it some sort of perverted Apple trick? I mean, if they dont “really” care about the product, why should I buy it?

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