seems remarkably heavy-handed on Apple's part:
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Apple Computer has sued a popular Macintosh rumour Web site for allegedly distributing trade secrets, the latest in a string of lawsuits the company has filed to stop Internet leaks of details of upcoming products. [...]
Apple claimed that the information posted on Think Secret in November and December of this year, and earlier, could only have been obtained by someone who had signed a confidentiality agreement with Apple.
"Apple had maintained and protected the Future Product Information contained in these two articles as trade secrets, and the information could not have been acquired by the dePlume Defendants without a breach of an Apple confidentiality agreement," Apple said in its lawsuit.
Apple is suing Nick dePlume, who owns and runs Think Secret, and 20 other unnamed individuals, some of whom Apple believes gave the unreleased product information to the Web site. The company also said that it believes dePlume is an assumed name, and that it will amend its complaint with dePlume's real name and the names of the other defendants, once they were determined.
"Apple's DNA is innovation, and the protection of our trade secrets is crucial to our success," the Cupertino, California-based company said in a statement.
Apple also said that its efforts to squelch the publication of as-yet-unannounced products was not an attempt to stifle free speech.
"These constitutionally protected freedoms, however, do not extend to defendants' unlawful practice of misappropriating and disseminating trade secrets acquired through the deliberate violation of known duties of confidentiality," the company said in its complaint.
Since about two years ago, I've decided the next new computer I buy will be a Mac. I can't afford a dual G5 with Cinema Monitor for the time being, however, so I was looking forward to the purported headless
system, as a possible means of more immediately sating my interest in an ever-so-much-prettier (and greatly more functional-seeming) OS. This kind of thing won't make me boycott Apple, but it certainly does leave a bad taste in my mouth.
Rumours will always circulate, and most always be wrong. It seems to me the best course of action would be to ignore them, and make the official announcements at the trade shows, as usual. What trade secrets have been divulged here? All I've seen in following the story are a vague system concept (buy the tower alone, use your existing cheap VGA monitor) and some hardware specs. Have I missed something? Have some genuinely secret manufacturing processes or physical design blueprints been leaked? Gizmodo
reports today that iPod minis ordered as 4GB models have been shipped as 5GB, in an apparent stealth rollout of the soon-to-be-announced new size; is that a trade secret too? It hasn't been officially announced yet, after all.
I'm sure Apple is within their rights based on the terms of their NDAs to launch this kind of suit. I can't help wondering, though, if they've really thought the consequences through. This is bound to generate some degree of backlash; who doesn't like engaging in baseless wish-fulfillment rumourmongering?
Now there's a new element added to the game, however - get the details sufficiently correct, and Apple will admit as such by suing you, in a bizarre show of contempt for the most fanatical of customers. If that's sound business strategy for either the company's loyal core market, or the emerging casual users turned on to Apple by the iPod, I'm not seeing it.
UPDATE: More here