Apple: The New Sony

(UPDATE!: Mac Mini unveiled.)

Oy. I was all queued up to write about someone doing something positive with their customers (check the comments; they’re awesome), and this comes across. Dan Gillmor, Om Malik, and many others are reporting that Apple has just sued Think Secret, one of their most rabid fan sites, which has been hosting rumors of a $499 iMac. Gillmor:

“I’m fairly sure of this: If the party leaking information to Think Secret had sent it, say, to the San Jose Mercury News or New York Times, and had those publications run the news, Apple wouldn’t be suing them. Both have deep enough pockets to defend themselves.”

Sony v. Kottke anyone?

So, Apple is going after Think Secret in order to plug the leaks that Apple has in its own organization. Sony is going after Kottke for information that he had gotten from a source.

EugeneCraiganyone…help us out here!

As the customer guy, this doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. Why go after the customers, when the root of the problem is internal? Do it once, you make a point. Do it twice, and “ok, already.” Do it three times, and it may start to put people off. In fact, this is starting to happen. From Allen George, an Apple customer:

“Many Apple fans (in this context I prefer “Apple apologists”) have sided with the company, citing dubious reasons such as ‘protecting the investors’ et. al. I disagree with their point of view.

I ask:

  • In what material way do these rumors hurt Apple?
  • Does Apple ever consider the fact that people are actually interested in their products as a result of this?
  • Why is this suit being conducted?

At any rate, this site – one of the most reliable Mac rumor sites out there – will almost certainly be shut down as a result of this. Apple’s legal department is well known for its bulldog like tenacity and ferocity, so it’s unlikely the owner will be able to stand up to their wrath.

Another example of corporate power against the ‘little guy’? I think so.

And a reason for me to actually consider _not buying_ Apple products.

[shakes head]

Why Apple why?”

MacHeads discuss the situation here.

4 Replies to “Apple: The New Sony”

  1. I’m a little ambivalent about the whole thing. If Think Secret was simply blogging his/her/their passion, nothing would become of it. But once you dive into blogging (opinion, rumor, innuendo, etc.) as commerce, I say you have to be willing (and able) to play the game!

  2. Apple was clearly hurt for a few months by all the critical reviews of the iPod mini as being overpriced partly because rumor sites like Think Secret claimed it would be $99 or $199, rather than $249. It took two-three months for consumers to start to ignore all the reviewers and look at it in the store and choose for themselves.

    The same thing will happen here if Apple releases a headless Mac for $699 instead of $500. Or if iWork doesn’t contain all the pieces that ThinkSecret claims it should have.

  3. So Kev, ThinkSecret should be punished because Apple didn’t pull off a good enough marketing push? That’s ridiculous.

    And more importantly… so what? How are the iPod mini’s sales now?

    If Apple wanted a solution to the problem of having ThinkSecret mess with their business based on their reviews, perhaps they should picked up the phone, presented an NDA and asked for feedback from ThinkSecret up front, no?

  4. The Social Customer Wonders, MIPTC Tries To Answer

    Christopher Carfi over at the Social Customer Manifesto asked the good Professor and me about this post. Whew! Think there are enough prepositions in that last sentence?

    Anyway, it seems that c|net reported that Apple (doesn’t it seem like the app…

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