by Giles Turnbull

When you stop to think about the large number of Mac rumor web sites, and the vast array of rumors published thereon, it's astonishing that the Apple legal team aren't themselves the big story more often.

As it is, they've swooped on alleged distributors of trade secrets with some festive lawsuits. And this act in itself further fuels the rumor sites' front pages with more speculation.

None of the web sites said to be under threat have made any public comment on the original Mac Observer story, but every other rumor site, and pretty much every serious news service, has joined in.

What is Apple trying to do here? Some speculate a smokescreen; taking legal action about this might throw others off the scent of other recent rumors, such as the tantalising mock-ups of a flash iPod that appeared on The Mac Mind (dissected by Engadget readers) a few weeks ago.

Then there's the crucial point, made by, that in order to win in court, Apple has to more or less admit that the leaked information was correct. Doesn't this do more damage?

And there's the other action, taken against people spreading illegal copies of Tiger around the place (reported by Computerworld).

The speculation is misplaced. Apple is doing this because it wants to find the moles, and stop them burrowing any further into its titanium-plated box of secrets. The fact that doing so only adds to the feverishness is an unfortunate side-effect, but not something that will do the company any harm. The same applies when admitting the rumors are true: who cares? The information concerned is public domain now.

The choice is to keep quiet, and risk further leaks, or make a fuss, and 'fess up.

Perhaps this all throws some light on why Apple doesn't take legal action more often; it must love the fact that the rumor sites are there, churning out stories every day that hype up the company and its products to a hungry audience. Why spend money on stealth marketing, when your customers can do it for you?

It's only when people entrusted with trade secrets start spilling them on to the web that you need to unleash the lawyers. Grrrr.

What does a rumor site owner need most of? Dedication? Money? Courage?


2005-03-06 06:07:18
made by I'll watch them, review them, analyze them, and post the results early Sunday afternoon right here at This week is notable: No Biden or McCain, though I frankly wouldn't be surprised if one of them were to pop in on Blitzer's show at the last minute, perhaps to refute The Donald.