Apple can't take its own medicine
Monday 16th December 2002
It seems that a commercially challenged individual got caught posting some of Apple's secrets on the web and now the company is suing.
Surely there's no surprise in that and we wouldn't really care if it wasn't for the fact that Apple does have a history of accidentally leaking its own information.
The story started back in the Summer as Apple set about its preparations to release the newly designed PowerMac. It is alleged that Jose Lopez, who was working as a contractor within Apple at the time, took schematic drawings, images and engineering details of the product and posted them onto the Internet. If the allegations are true then this must go down as an act of outstanding stupidity - unless Lopez made a decent wedge of cash somewhere along the line.
Somehow you don't see that happening. What you see is a guy who stumbles across sensitive information and thinks its clever to pass it on to the wider world. In the process he upsets the Apple cart, gets himself sued and will probably find it difficult to find work for a while.
In most cases it would be reasonable to expect such espionage to be punished severely if proven. However, Apple is known to use such information leaks as a part of its marketing strategy. Obviously Apple likes to be in control of the timing and the content of the leaks and it won't have liked having its thunder stolen by somebody giving out information that involved more than the basic technology information and the available colour schemes.
An excellent example of an Apple leak came in mid-September when details of the upcoming Jaguar update were 'accidentally' posted on its support pages and removed within hours - after everybody had time to read them. These leaks must reduce any claim for damages or retribution that may come from Apple.
The real issue here may be one of timing. In a month or so, Apple will be putting a whole lot of information on the table at MacWorld Expo in San Francisco. It maybe feels that it needs to send a message out to those that have access to the information that it is not wise to disclose it in any shape or form before Apple itself is ready to release it. Jose Lopez has certainly got the message.