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Apple Fails Due Diligence in Trade Secret Case 236

Posted by samzenpus
from the do-your-homework dept.
Brett writes "Despite claims to the contrary, it now appears that Apple didn't do any serious investigation inside the company before they sued AppleInsider and the PowerPage. This is quite a bit of a problem because Californian law and First Amendment precedent requires Apple check up on itself before threatening journalists. From the article, "It appears that Apple has adopted a shoot-first, ask questions later approach to dealing with rumors sites. The company took no depositions, required no oaths from its employees, and failed to subpoena anyone related to the company or the development of the device in question.""
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Apple Fails Due Diligence in Trade Secret Case

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  • by doublem (118724) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @08:15AM (#13565296) Homepage Journal
    I still don't get why people are so enamored with Apple. For every piece of FUD Microsoft spews, Apple tosses out a lawsuit.

    People forget that Apple sued Microsoft to keep non Apple GUIS off the market. If they had their way, everything would be text mode or Apple. No Windows, no X, no nothing. The only up shot to this I can think of is we'd have been spared the silly KDE vs GNOME battles. OF course that's because if Apple had their way, neither would exist.

    They're no better than Microsoft, SUN or even SCO, but because they're considered an underdog in the hardware and OS wars, shenanigans like this are given a free pass.

    What gives?

    We're talking about a company who took until version TEN to have a decent OS, and still ships their laptops with one frigging mouse button, even though they cram as much functionality into the alternate mouse buttons as any Windows developer.
  • by jtwJGuevara (749094) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @08:15AM (#13565297)
    But does it make them any different from an ethical point of view? We trash MS a lot for tossing its weight around with trademarks and filing for silly patents, but here we have a direct competitor who blindly fires off an illegitimate lawsuit against free speech journalism. In essense, wasn't Apple just trying to throw its weight around as well just like MS would do?

    Not to sound like a fanboy, but this what is attractive about Linux. There's no organization, good or bad, that I'm directly supporting by using it as my computer OS. Trust me, I think Tiger might be the best user-centric OS by miles, but Apple as the market leader would frighten me just as much as MS as the market leader and as such, I don't buy their products.
  • by bigtallmofo (695287) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @08:15AM (#13565301)
    The summary is very conclusive that Apple failed to do something required by law. Though from TFA:

    "The First Amendment requires that compelled disclosure from journalists be a last resort," said EFF Staff Attorney Kurt Opsahl. "Apple must first investigate its own house before seeking to disturb the freedom of the press."

    Is the only source of this information in the summary this quote from an attorney working against Apple? If so, something stated by an opposing attoreny in the middle of a case shouldn't be taken as settled fact.
  • by gnasher719 (869701) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @08:16AM (#13565302)
    The article is not based on any decision made by a judge, it is based on what the opposing lawyers say. It is not even based on the _opinion_ of the opposing lawyers (which they might be very wise to keep to themselves), but on their interpretation that is most helpful to their clients.

    It would be interesting to see what Apple's lawyers think about it. Maybe, just maybe, they have a slightly different point of few. Maybe they don't quite agree that the victim of a crime has to shoulder all the cost and hardship of the investigation.
  • by LiquidCoooled (634315) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @08:18AM (#13565317) Homepage Journal
    They don't wanna lose their jobs,
    "Of fucking course I didn't tell Apple Insider anything".

    The mole may not even have known about a deliberate leak, similar to earlier this morning reading about Yahoo mail updates - this was 1st posted:
    I saw the new interface when my cousin, who works for yahoo was visiting [slashdot.org]
  • by sveskemus (833838) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @08:30AM (#13565384) Homepage

    The main difference between Microsoft and Apple as I see it: Apple makes great software and hardware. Microsoft makes crappy software and decent hardware.

    Lots of people love Apple. This has nothing to do with the company's treatment of rumour sites or any other legal matters. It has to do with the great hardware and software Apple makes.

  • by Budenny (888916) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @08:36AM (#13565407)
    "no one can deny the build quality and attention to detail that goes into Apple hardware"

    Well, yes, that's what a lot of us, many of us Apple users, do deny. We have opened the cases, and looked at what's in them, and we just do not see it. We see the same drives, opticals, memory, psus, graphics cards as in our Dell boxes. We see main boards manufactured by, I think, Asus. We don't see any particularly wonderful layout of the components. We don't even see in general better cooled or quieter cases.

    And if you think failure rates and quality problems are any different, read Ars Technica. They just are not.

    It would be lovely if it were different, especially for us users, but the facts are alas not so.

  • by heavy snowfall (847023) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @08:39AM (#13565424) Journal
    Especially the part about him being a journalist! That's contested by Apple and others. And the most interesting part of this case: Is any random guy with a webpage a journalist with the right to protect his sources (he can allways keep quiet, but if he's not a journalist he'll get in trouble).

    So this is more like an attempt by his attorney to establish as a fact that he's a journalist.
  • by Intron (870560) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @09:06AM (#13565593)
    queue a record - DBM

    cue a record - disk jockey

    QA record - terrible
  • by delire (809063) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @09:06AM (#13565597)

    Well, yes, that's what a lot of us, many of us Apple users, do deny. We have opened the cases, and looked at what's in them, and we just do not see it. We see the same drives, opticals, memory, psus, graphics cards as in our Dell boxes. We see main boards manufactured by, I think, Asus. We don't see any particularly wonderful layout of the components. We don't even see in general better cooled or quieter cases.
    You're correct, there is very little difference in this so called 'Apple hardware' especially given the manufacturers are not in fact Apple, but Asustek and Quanta [macworld.co.uk] - the former outselling their own so called 'PC' laptops to Apple branded computers 10 to 1.

    It is largely a well propogated myth that 'Apple hardware' is in any way better than that of other brands and there can certainly be no real claim of innovation in the industrial design department outside of superficial stylistic impositions on case and chassis design. Where cooling is concerned it can safely be said that the powerbooks are perhaps the most poorly designed of any portable's I've come across; many colleagues in fact prop their's up on a book just to allow for air to circulate underneath the thing.
  • by clickety6 (141178) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @09:11AM (#13565617)

    Or to put it more succintly: "With great power comes great responsibility" ;-)

  • by HairyCanary (688865) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @09:17AM (#13565653)
    I would not call myself enamored with Apple, but I do see a distinction between them and Microsoft.

    Apple is a small company, they have no monopoly in any market, and in the market where they are the strongest (iPod) they do not show a tendency to prey on other manufacturers at the expense of the customer. They simply out-compete everyone else by producing a superior product (superior at least, in the definition of most consumers).

    Microsoft on the other hand, has a monopoly in several markets, and exploits their position to maintain the monopoly at the expense of innovation, and ultimately the customer. Microsoft does not maintain their dominance in the market by producing a superior product (even the die-hard Microsoft apologists would conceed that point), they do it by force. Shady business practices, bastardization of standards, etc.

    So yes, Apple pulls some stunts, like this one, which it should be criticized for. But to use this kind of misstep as an excuse for the absolutely unholy way Microsoft operates is to make a huge mathmatical mistake ;-). Microsoft has several orders of magnitude more impact on societ than does Apple, and therefore Microsoft -has- to be held to even higher standards.

  • by BoomerSooner (308737) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @09:17AM (#13565658) Homepage Journal
    That there weren't software patents back then. Windows wouldn't exist, or if it did a hefty fee would be paid to Apple for every license.

    Oh wait patents foster innovation. Right....
  • by MojoRilla (591502) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @09:18AM (#13565670)
    Maybe they don't quite agree that the victim of a crime has to shoulder all the cost and hardship of the investigation.

    This is not a criminal lawsuit. This is a civil case.

    From Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]:

    In civil law cases, the "burden of proof" requires the plaintiff to convince the trier of fact (whether judge or jury) of the plaintiff's entitlement to the relief sought. This means that the plaintiff must prove each element of the claim, or cause of action, in order to recover.

    If this wasn't the case, you would have companies making sweeping allegations and suing with no evidence. But no company [wikipedia.org] would ever do that, would they?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 15, 2005 @09:24AM (#13565708)
    ATTENTION APPLE FANBOISE

    But look at their DRM strategy compared to M$.

    You sound like George Bush with his "Still more civil liberties then North Korea" attitude.

    Frankly, Apple should be trembling like a freshly raped dog in the face of the fury of their customers after behaviour like this.
  • by node 3 (115640) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @09:34AM (#13565783)
    Seriously - I really don't understand why the Apple Fans are defending Apple on this one. Apple crossed the line of reasonableness here, defending them means you've crossed the line from fan to shill.

    I haven't seen a single person defend Apple on this one. The poster you just called a "shill" was merely pointing out that it's not established that Apple has legally failed to undertake due diligence. That's for a judge or jury to decide, *not* the legal opposition.

    *Everyone* is upset that Apple sued the websites to cover up for their own internal problems. The difference is that some people are able to put this bad action into proper perspective, while others see it as proof that Apple is every bit as evil as Microsoft.

    Personally, I'm mad that Apple acted so badly, but since it's not their normal way of doing business, and because I find the company "does the right thing" more often than I've come to expect from most corporations, I'm not going to hang them for it.
  • by tpgp (48001) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @10:02AM (#13566003) Homepage
    I haven't seen a single person defend Apple on this one.
    Here you go [slashdot.org]
    The poster you just called a "shill" was merely pointing out that it's not established that Apple has legally failed to undertake due diligence. That's for a judge or jury to decide, *not* the legal opposition.

    No. The OP tried to make the entire summary sound incorrect.
    Despite claims to the contrary, it now appears that Apple didn't do any serious investigation inside the company before they sued AppleInsider and the PowerPage

    Court documents appear to back this up.
  • by Ph33r th3 g(O)at (592622) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @10:02AM (#13566005)
    No one will dare publish interesting rumors, even if they're not legally protected trade secrets, unless they're either judgment-proof or have their own pack of snarling lawyers.
  • by museumpeace (735109) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @10:54AM (#13566458) Journal
    Rumors don't come from nowhere. What if all Apple needs to accomplish is to intimdidate a few talkative employees? They don't have to win a lawsuit to demonstrate that they mean business, just bring a suit to court. And consider the other costs of "due diligence": if they have to go from cube to cube with a polygraph, they are going to alienate a lot of their own people. "Shoot first and ask questions later" can work OK if you only mean to fire warning shots.
  • by The Spoonman (634311) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @11:26AM (#13566825) Homepage
    Apple makes great software and hardware.

    Yeah, but that's just your opinion. I bought a Powerbook last summer to start playing with OSX. I just sold it a couple of months back and went back, happily, to XP. I couldn't stand their interface. No, let me clarify...the interface was nice, but I found it terribly difficult to use. Too mouse-centric, and considering the mouse is a PITA with its one button, that didn't work for me. It might be nice and simple for first time users and long time Mac users, but I personally don't see how anyone can switch from Windows to OSX and find it easier to use. Just the fact that there's two different key combos to switch between windows was annoying enough for me to give up on it. Other than that, it was about as stable as Windows (I'm not your typical Slashdotter, I know what I'm doing, so that wasn't an insult. Windows has been rock-solid as far as I'm concerned since NT4). I wasn't impressed with the performance. The 1.3G G4 wasn't nearly as fast as the 1.0G P3 I replaced it with.

    Opinions are like assholes, everyone's got one, and they're full of shit.
  • by d34thm0nk3y (653414) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @11:33AM (#13566897)
    Apple is a small company, they have no monopoly in any market, and in the market where they are the strongest (iPod) they do not show a tendency to prey on other manufacturers at the expense of the customer.

    Then why can't I play songs purchased from iTunes on my Creative player?
  • by tpgp (48001) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @01:14PM (#13567860) Homepage
    To a point. Clearly had the patent case gone differently I bet Apple would have done the UI differently.

    I'm not sure what you mean, but Apple vs Microsoft was a copyright case, not a patent case.

    I'd note one big patent UI precedence though - Adobe's patents for movable tabs that one sees in say Photoshop but never in non-Adobe products.

    Broad software patents are not valid in most parts of the world. I note that Opera - a European browser contains movable tabs. [opera.com]

    From the linked article:
    Change the order of the tabs by dragging and dropping them on the page bar.

    I have not used adobe products for some time, so am not sure if this is the same thing.
  • by allanc (25681) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @02:38PM (#13568889) Homepage
    Because iTunes is designed as an incentive for people to buy iPods.

    Predatory would be more along the lines of Creative suing Apple for using menus on its music player.

    If you want to buy a Creative player, that's fine. You can do so, and use every online music provider that's not Apple--none of which will let themselves work on an iPod, either, I might add. Apple's not saying you can't play any music on your Creative player, just that you can't buy it from them in particular.

    Do you think it's predatory that HP won't sell you ink for your Canon printer?
  • by rsborg (111459) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @03:04PM (#13569160) Homepage
    they do not show a tendency to prey on other manufacturers at the expense of the customer.

    Then why can't I play songs purchased from iTunes on my Creative player?

    Same reason you can't see AIM buddies on your yahoo IM tool. Apple *created* their own network (iTunes). It's theirs to use. No other company has the RIGHT to inherently have their products work with with it. Compare and contrast this with Microsoft who has repeatedly *actively sabotaged* other companies' products from working with their system, especially when that system was pre-existing and open (hint: microsoft.com sent bad headers toOpera browsers).

    Both Apple and Microsoft are evil to some degree, but the depth of their evil is entire leagues apart.

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