The dubious news story of the day is that Apple is going to court to determine which people leaked information that appeared on Apple centered web sites such as powerpage, think secret , and apple insider. After yesterday’s Microsoft and EU news, it is interesting to note that this case hinges in part around multimedia features. I wonder if people are thinking that multimedia and computers might be a potent combination? Gosh darn, I should have thought of that myself!
Whatever one might say about Microsoft, its hard to imagine Bill and Steve ever suing anyone over an issue like this. In fact, one often suspects that Microsoft insiders are likely to hear the latest rumors at a legitimate news conference, even before they are told to begin testing or working on a new product. Bill may get my dander up from time to time, but he isn’t that kind of crazy. In fact, he’s probably smart enough to know that in today’s world, there is no such thing as a secret.
Not content with piling on little web sites like powerpage, Apple has gone on to sue two members of their "Apple Developer Connection" program for foolishly (insanely?) posting beta versions of Apple OS X on the web. I have to ask, which is crazier: Posting the code in the first place, or daring to mar a happy and very profitable holiday season by suing people?
Exactly what possible difference can it make to Apple if folks know the details of their OS before it is released? Do they think Microsoft:
- Has time to care what Apple is doing?
- Feels threatened enough to act on something like this while engaged in the insane process of trying to release a much delayed new version of their own OS?
- Doesn’t already have a copy of the darn thing?
Or has Apple so completely lost it that they think the kind of multimedia and image crazed maniac who uses a Mac is ever likely to switch to Linux, for Pete’s sake? I find it hard to believe that hard core Linux developers can’t get a look at a beta of OS X if they really want to. But if they did look, they know that Linux is not exactly a hot competitor in the multimedia market. Servers maybe, but not multimedia! Why waste time emulating OS X? They have more important things to do.
Even more peculiar is the desire of these depraved developers to illegally post a beta copy of Apple OS X on the web. I worked at Borland long enough to understand that there is a temptation to try to buck up one’s flagging self image by pretending that access to a secret somehow makes one special. But when I was tempted to stoop so low, I always wanted to impress people who I actually knew, rather than total strangers who downloaded a file anonymously. Unfortunately for me, everyone I knew who cared about such things was already on the darn beta, and had already signed a blanket NDA. I mean, I wasn’t going to get too far trying to impress girls at a party with my inside information about Delphi’s ability to make ActiveX controls!
The talk on the street is that Apple is going to sell four million copies of the iPod this Christmas. If I were sitting on top of such an expensive and red hot product , I would tell my lawyers to get a grip! I have no idea what the margin is on an iPod, but I wouldn’t think anyone would be too far off if they started doing things like multiplying 100 times 4 million, just to see what that figure might look like! And then you can start thinking of the profit Apple makes when people download songs from the Internet. Let’s see, one dollar a song, with a distribution cost too small to measure. Hmm. Somehow, if it were up to me, instead of getting mad, I think I would just count my blessings. If I were really feeling mean, I would just tell those developers that they were no longer members of the "Apple Developer Connection," and then let it go at that.
What do you think? Has Apple gone crazy? Are all lawyers crazy by definition? Has the whole world gone crazy? Is it time for a holiday vacation, or what?