Friday, 01 April 2005

More on the Apple trade secret cases

If you’re not subscribing to MDJ or MWJ, you’re missing out on what is the very best and most comprehensive coverage of the ongoing Apple trade secret lawsuits. Matt Deatherage has worked to the point of failing health to deliver a knock-out of an issue this past Sunday that features the most intensive news of the cases I’ve seen. Matt & Co. deliver brilliant point after brilliant point, with so many good ones, I’d have to reprint the entire article to get them all in.

There is one example on why these cases are important for businesses, and why this is not about the political right to free speech as set forth in the First Amendment.

How many people would have looked twice at the original iMac if its Bondi Blue design had leaked out two months in advance, and competitors had already released similar-looking PCs? Apple actually introduced the machine at an event that everyone thought was for some of O’Grady’s long-rumored PowerBooks, and it was - plus “one more thing.” It’s said that only about 30 people within Apple knew what the machine looked like or that it would be announced that May day in 1998, and the press coverage conveyed the shock at Apple’s bold move.

The iMac’s design influenced everything from rival PCs to peripherals to pencil sharpeners, but because Apple kept its work secret until it was ready, all those products were rightly seen as iMac copycats. If Think Secret had leaked the iMac like it did the Mac Mini, would the world have seen those products are iMac knock-offs - or seen the iMac, the original idea that was stolen and released prematurely, as “just part of a trend?”

That sums it up. If the latter had happened, would Apple have recovered as quickly from its doldrums as it did? Would it have recovered at all? One could make the argument that the success of the iMac fueled the development of iTunes, the iTunes Music Store, and the iPod. Without the runaway success of the iMac, Apple as we know it today might not exist at all. That success could have been placed in serious jeopardy with rumors of the new machine leaking out.

If you could spend your money on only one Macintosh publication, I would recommend MDJ or MWJ. (I have no affiliation with these publications, or their parent company, GCSF, Inc., other than as a satisfied subsriber.)

posted on April 1, 2005 8:44 AM




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