Hey, Apple: This Bites

Remember the story about the college-age blogger who was sued by Apple for publishing leaked information about future products? Apple Legal has managed to litigate him out of business:

Apple and Think Secret have settled their lawsuit, reaching an agreement that results in a positive solution for both sides. As part of the confidential settlement, no sources were revealed and Think Secret will no longer be published. Nick Ciarelli, Think Secret’s publisher, said “I’m pleased to have reached this amicable settlement, and will now be able to move forward with my college studies and broader journalistic pursuits.”

That’s pretty awful if you ask me. Think Secret was a great site, and Nick was (and I assume still is) one hell of a good reporter. How the heck does it server Apple’s customers or shareholders to silence one of the most-read sites about, er, Apple products?

I love a lot of Apple’s products, but Steve Jobs’ ego combined with a hyperactive Apple Legal can add up to an amazing capacity for self-sabotage. Beyond that, this sets a really bad precedent for blogging and reporting in general. It says an organization with hefty enough legal resources can silence a reporter they don’t like.

Don’t hold your breath waiting for MSM condemnation of this outcome, of course. Newspapers and TV networks have legal departments of their own, and they’re just as likely to want the little guys silenced (or “regulated” into submission) as any other corporation that doesn’t like competition.