Apple Lost, Gizmodo Found

| Just a Thought

Gizmodo has always been one of the sites I like to take a look at on a daily basis, I like their blend of humor and hard tech news, and I like that they are comfortable in their First Amendment rights dealing with the freedoms enjoyed by The Press.

However, there are moral issues to consider and in my view of the world, morality trumps freedoms every time. I’m not talking about a set of rules dictated by religion, though that is often a good place to start, I’m talking about innate morality, if there is such a thing. Morals that you know are right because you would want others to treat you that way if the situation was against you. Just because we have a right to do something does not mean we should, and if we have to make a decision on what is best to do, then the question becomes a moral dilemma and the answer is not hard to know, but sometimes hard to follow.

What has me on a soapbox jabbering about morality is Gizmodo’s recent article revealing what is believed be a prototype of the next generation of iPhone hardware from Apple.

Apparently, someone with access to Apple prototype hardware lost the device, someone else found the device, it wound up at Gizmodo, and Gizmodo has confirmed the loss with Apple.

Gizmodo has had the device for more than a week and has even gone so far as to examine the inside. They’ve documented what they’ve found and presented it on their website.

Is it interesting? Sure.

Is it earth-shattering? No.

Is dissecting the device and reporting what you’ve found to the public a morally responsible thing to do? I don’t think so.

Should they give the phone back? Absolutely. Frankly, I’m wondering why they haven’t given it back already?

First of all, it’s Apple’s property. There’s no mistaking that it is Apple’s property, and Gizmodo went so far as to validate that it is Apple’s property. The right thing to do is to give it back just as you found it. Of course, there were tangible gains to be had by Gizmodo if they held on to it, and that’s the dilemma. Yet, I contend that there really was no dilemma, and that there really was only one “right” thing to do.

This is no different from finding a wallet with a thousand bucks and a driver’s license in it. Do you pocket the cash and toss the wallet in a trash bin, or do you make at least a reasonable effort to return it all, loot, license, and leather, to its rightful owner?

Maybe I’m being overly optimistic, but I suspect that a little less than half of us would return the wallet intact. The reasons for doing so will be as varied as the people doing the decent deed, but no matter what the reason given it will all point to one basic truth: The wallet does not belong to us and we know to whom it does belong to.

Those of you who’ll fault us do-gooders for doing good would do well to hope you never lose something valuable and be forced to rely on the morals and kindness of strangers.

Such was the situation with Apple and Gizmodo.

It doesn’t matter that the tech world watches Apple with microscopic scrutiny, or that Apple is a multi-billion dollar high profile company and its CEO can, at times, seem as mad as Alice’s hatter. It makes no difference that Gizmodo is in the business of reporting the time, temperature, and velocity of Steve Jobs’ farts, or the ill-winds of other CEOs and their businesses. The plain and simple fact is that the device was found, Gizmodo came into possession of it, Gizmodo knew who it belonged to, and they should have returned it as soon as they knew what they had.

It doesn’t make for monumental site traffic, but it was the right this to do. Shame on Gizmodo for not doing it.

 

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45 Comments Leave Your Own

geoduck

There’s an old saying that What Goes Around Comes Around. I think that acting in such an irresponsible manner may gain Gizmodo some hits in the short term. They may though, find sources in Apple being less forthcoming, invites to events being less available, leaks going to others. They will pay a price and the jury is still out on if it will be worth it in the long run. Journalism is a two way street. You have to work with those you are reporting on. It’s not a winning strategy to embarrass those you need to go to for news.

achaar

Absolutely.  Gizmodo has slipped even further down the morality slope, because the device didn’t just end up in their hands, they PAID 5 grand for it.  There is no justifying their actions, they saw an opportunity and they took it.  They didn’t stop to consider the ethics.  They certainly didn’t do the right thing.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Vern, it’s complicated by the fact that Giz paid $5000 to the guy who found it. The phone appears to have been shopped around to others, including Engadget, who also had exclusive pictures of it.

If you found a guy’s wallet, and that guy happened to be a public official, and in addition to $1000, it contained some incriminating evidence that called his integrity into question, I think you’d be obligated to report that or give it to someone who would. So this must return lost property thing isn’t so clear cut as it appears.

I don’t like the idea of the public being deputized to protect Apple’s secrets or secret property its employees are bringing into bars. But California code is almost crystal clear that we are. That’s why as soap opera-ish as this whole thing is, it’s important for Gizmodo to do it. Despite what the legal code says, Apple needs to be responsible for protecting its secrets, not the legal system that costs us all money and extends Apple’s control beyond its campus.

Lee Dronick

This could be a tactic. Gizmodo gets the prototype thinking that they have a scoop. The blogosphere and talking head media goes category 5, Apple gets all kinds of free attention. When the next version iPhone is announced it will be something very much different from the “fake” prototype. Then the blogosphere will go critical mass, heads will be asploding and Apple gets even more free publicity.

daemon

Vern, you’re being sanctimonious.

MyRightEye

Vern’s just pissed his $50 wasn’t accepted by the guy that found the iPhone.

Substance

I agree with Vern’s line of thinking. 

Bosco, there’s always exceptions, don’t throw out Vern’s argument just because he didn’t take on every angle for the sake brevity.  But I’ll also throw in that, short of finding the owner’s drivers license, there’s no moral reason to be going through someone’s wallet just because you’re curious.

I also like the fact that Vern made moral high ground without even commenting on the even more ethically-dubious outing of the phone’s owner, displaying their pictures taken with the phone, and the discourse between the two.

mjkphoto

Vern is correct. Also, if is true that they paid $5K for the device, then Gizmondo and the guy who sold it may face prosecution. Gizmondo did not report the seller to authorities, they paid him. They bought stolen property and then tried to profit from it. Sounds like a case for the prosecution to me. It is time people to take responsibility for their actions (and as the Supreme Court has instructed us, corporations are people, too). Gizmondo should be held responsible for their unethical and possibly illegal actions.

Ron

I sincerely agree with the return morality once they knew, without reasonable doubt, to whom it belonged. As the metaphor goes, it is ok to look in the wallet and know the contents as long as all is returned.  So, do you agree that taking pictures, reasonable analysis and sharing that information is okay?

Fastflyer

There is no grey area here. Return some else’s property or you are a thief. Return it quietly and intact or you are a weasel.

Dean Lewis

So, do you agree that taking pictures, reasonable analysis and sharing that information is okay?

I’d agree with that if the wallet hadn’t been possibly stolen and $5000 paid for it on the off chance it had something more valuable inside. We’re not dealing in some kind of smoking gun information that could topple a criminal government official or corporation. We’ve gone beyond taking pictures from half a mile away of a prototype car tooling around an auto manufacturer’s test track. This is buying something the buyer couldn’t possibly know was stolen or not, and that isn’t going to endear Gizmodo to Apple or even other tech companies.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

OK, so what if it didn’t actually belong to Apple? Does that change the ethics of this? Evaluated that way, I don’t think you can fault their handling one bit. They wanted written confirmation. They got it. They returned it. They were under no obligation to keep the process secret. Apple is probably fortunate that Giz ponied up $5K and took possession that Apple could address.

If Apple can’t or won’t keep its secret devices out of bars where they might be lost, this is on Apple, not anyone who might be interested in knowing about those secret devices.

John C. Welch

who it belongs to is immaterial.

when you find something that’s not yours, regardless of the elementary school justifications you employ, it’s not yours.

It is not yours to keep, at least not immediately depending on jurisidiction, and it is most certainly not yours to sell. Buying something from someone who “found” it destroys your plausible deniability when it comes to getting busted for buying illicit merch. it wasn’t the finder’s to sell, you can’t legally buy it.

if someone finds your wallet, are the contents, particularly the credit cards, theirs to do with as they will? After all, it’s on you for losing it.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Problem with your reasoning is that the guy who found it did try to give it back. Read here.

He called the company. The reps thought it was a hoax. He looked on the phone for the owner’s identity that night, but not too deeply. It was wiped by morning. Maybe he should have emailed it to Steve Jobs?

daemon

Iunno, maybe he could have gone to the Apple store?

Brad Cook

How about the poor Apple engineer whose name was splashed all over the Internet? What was the point of Gizmodo exposing that poor guy, while shielding the identity of the person who found the iPhone?

And, assuming Gizmodo’s timeline of the events is truthful, the story doesn’t add up. The guy who found it was unable to get anyone at Apple to talk to him, even though he knew the name of the engineer the iPhone belonged to? Considering that he made $5K from this and was obviously shopping it to other sites, he clearly didn’t try too hard.

And the phone was bricked before Gizmodo took possession of it, so obviously they were told the name of the engineer in question. They knew who it belonged to, and now they say they were glad to return it to Apple, after Apple demanded its return. Why not do so in the first place, or help the guy who found it return the phone, if he really couldn’t get anyone to return his calls? You’d think all Gizmodo would have to say is “We have what looks like a next-gen iPhone. You want it back or do we have to post pictures on the Internet?” to get a response from Apple.

Gizmodo’s attempts to maintain plausible deniability are ridiculous.  They couldn’t confirm whether it was a real phone, but they felt the need to pony up $5K for it?  They had to wait for Apple to threaten them before suddenly becoming virtuous and returning it?

rb

California Penal Code section 485: One who finds lost property under circumstances which give him knowledge of or means of inquiry as to the true owner, and who appropriates such property to his own use, or to the use of another person not entitled thereto, without first making reasonable and just efforts to find the owner and to restore the property, is guilty of theft.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Brad, let’s try a different angle. I’m not being a contrarian just to be one. I just think it’s easy (and kina lazy) to condemn Giz and then the fanboy thing kicks in and some hope that Apple will sue them and put them in their place, yadda yadda. Perhaps some higher ups in Apple think that way too. And perhaps Giz, Gawker, or their legal advisors think that someone at Apple might think that way.

There are worse ways this could have turned out. Turned away by Apple, then spurned by Engadget (apparently) and then spurned by Gizmodo (not, but let’s consider the hypothetical), the finder may have still believed it was interesting, but may have peddled it to someone who could profit from knowing its internals. How giant of a cluster-f would Apple face if some obscure chip they depended on faced a shortage during their production ramp-up?

I do buy the obvious Giz explanation for posting the creepy story revealing the engineer’s identity. It places a lot of facts in the open. If Apple fires the engineer, at least he’ll get a good package to keep him from talking, or, he can support himself for awhile doing just that.

But I think Giz is also sending a message to Apple, which is, “just let it go”. If Apple decided to be self-righteous about the incident, whether that be legal action or cutting Giz off from some event in the future, Giz can find another angle to the story that puts Apple in a bad light.

@rb, I’m not being at all contrarian when I point out that the finder did contact Apple and a customer support rep has confirmed that he knows of the call, which they just dismissed as a report of a Chinese knock-off, something all too common for them.

Vern Seward

Hello all,

Daemon: Not being sancti-anything. It’s easy to say what you would have done, but I have been in a vaguely similar situation and I did what I thought was right and moved on.

Bosco: Always a pleasure. grin The situation is only more complicated in that more wrong was done. Gizmodo would pay for something they didn’t at least had a reasonably high suspicion that the device was an Apple prototype. So they knew they were playing dirty pool.

As the your example, even a public official, dirty or otherwise, has a right to privacy. If what was found was obviously against the public trust then yes, the moral thing to do is make it public. That’s not the situation with this device and Apple. Apple can argue that they had every reasonable expectation of privacy surrounding that device. That the guy left it on a bar stool is beside the point, the device belonged to Apple, a private company that is actively guarding its secrets. Gizmodo violated basic decency. They even went so far as to publish the poor guy’s name. Very bad form!

MyRightEye: Ummm, he wouldn’t take $100 either, or my limited edition autographed photo of Levar Burton. Go figure.

Fred Strom

” I?m not talking about a set of rules dictated by religion, though that is often a good place to start”. Oh no, can’t read this dude anymore, I just got a bit of sick in my mouth…

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

the device belonged to Apple, a private company that is actively guarding its secrets. Gizmodo violated basic decency.

Vern, That prototype is only as interesting as it is because of Apple’s tradition of secrecy. That secrecy is Apple’s decision and prerogative, but you can’t make any moral or ethical argument that the responsibility for secrecy extends outside of Apple. If someone at Apple intentionally or inadvertently shares something highly secret with me, in confidence or not, and they don’t have me NDA’d (which they never would), I’d be more than happy to share with you guys. And I’m sure you’d be more than happy to get credit for the scoop. Keeping secrets is Apple’s problem, not mine, not yours, and not Gizmodo’s.

So what do you think Apple should do about it? If it’s anything more than bite their collective lip and suck it up, I’ll bet you they won’t grin.

Vern Seward

Hi Bosco, I’ll grant you that secrets lost outside of Apple are lost, and tough luck on Apple. And I’ll even grant that Gizmodo had every right to publish any secrets it was able to learn, but where do you draw the line between having secrets fall in your lap and actively going out and getting them. That’s an argument for another day.

Gizmodo, had something that belonged to Apple and didn’t bother giving it back for the sake of notoriety. It’s just wrong.

Vern

Brad Cook

Hoo boy.

Bosco, Mr. Finder Guy (the anonymous guy who found the phone) called AppleCare? Really? Wow, he was unable to get anywhere with them; what a shock.  Gee, if he knew the name of the person it likely belonged to, why not call *Apple corporate* and get a hold of the guy, like Giz eventually did?  Of course, Giz had to tear the phone apart first, even though it didn’t belong to them. (And I love this “We didn’t know exactly what it was.” Oh, then why’d you pay $5K for it?)

On top of it, the AppleCare rep said that if Mr. Finder Guy had submitted a photo of the phone, they could have sent it on to the engineers. Mr. Finder Guy doesn’t own a digital camera?

And RE Apple inadvertently sharing secrets: the problem is, that phone was Apple’s property, just like any other iPhone, laptop, iPad, iPod, or anything else issued to an employee and used by them. And Giz, rather than immediately return it, as was their legal and moral obligation, instead ripped it apart. How would you feel if you left your phone somewhere and learned that whoever found it tore it open?

But according to Giz, it’s Apple’s fault that it wasn’t able to track down the phone. I guess Steve’s ninja assassin team was on vacation.

The funny thing is, I’ve never been much of a Gizmodo reader, so I’m honestly not trying to pile on along with everyone else. I didn’t even know about their idiotic stunt turning off TVs at CES until today, for example.  I’m simply reacting to their pathetic attempts to backpedal in the face of what was a series of incredibly poor decisions by them: paying $5K for something that obviously didn’t belong to the seller; making a poor Apple employee’s situation even worse by plastering his name all over their site; and then trying to hold Apple accountable for a half-assed attempt at returning the phone.

geoduck

The question is where do you draw the line. Where did Gizmodo go too far.

If I found a wallet I would make every effort to return it to the owner. That’s what the finder should of done and I don’t think he did. As someone mentioned take it to an AppleStore they will figure out whom it belongs to..

Gizmodo bought it from the finder. That’s not good, but if they had immediately contacted Apple and said “We came across this Apple prototype and you should have it back, could you reimburse us for our cost of getting it off the street.” I would have no problem with that. Sometimes you have to tread on the ragged edge of the law in order to do the larger good.

If I find a wallet and make every effort to return it to the owner, I see nothing wrong with putting a picture of it on my blog along with a story of how I came across it. Similarly when Gizmodo put exterior shots on the web it didn’t bother me.

IMO here is where Gizmodo stepped over the line:

They waited for Apple to contact them. Then they asked for a legal letter before they would give it back, then they put the letter out on the web and copped a “look at what that bully Apple is doing” attitude. None of that is excusable.

I would never think about blogging about what was in a wallet I found nor would I put a photo of the drivers license that was in it. Gizmodo disassembled the phone and put pictures of the internals on their site. That could have harmed Apple by disclosing trade secrets.

They identified the engineer who lost it. This potentially harmed him, it might even get him fired. If Gizmodo had contacted him directly and returned it quietly they might even have gotten a valuable source down the road. That was not only bad form it was dumb from a journalistic point of view.

It would not have made any difference if Gizmodo had found an iPhone, nor the next gen Android phone, or a PSP prototype. They should have handled it better. The people who run Gizmodo are citizens and have responsibilities as citizens to behave in a particular way.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

I’m sorry. Preserving Apple’s secrecy is not Giz’s or anyone else’s (that isn’t specifically under contract to do so) legal or moral obligation.

Further, considering that they had possession of the phone, which Apple eventually confirmed was its property, they had no obligation to protect the privacy of the engineer who lost it if it meant in any way calling into question how they came to possess it. It’s no different than if I’m driving my buddy’s Trailblazer home from LAX after dropping him off, I get pulled over, the cop doesn’t match up Bosco’s last name with the registration and insurance, and I tell him that my buddy asked me to drive him in his vehicle. What Giz did was preempt speculation of untrue nefarious scenarios whereby they came to possess what they eventually confirmed to be Apple property that probably should not have left the campus.

Upon getting written confirmation that it was Apple’s property, they returned it. If you found someone’s wallet, and it had valuable things like cash and credit cards in it, wouldn’t you want some assurance that you’re turning it over to the rightful owner? What if this phone had been a KIRF or just some student’s little art project and Apple was not the owner? Are you saying that Giz is responsible for policing Apple’s trademarks and unique design? Really? Are you saying that Giz owes Apple any discretion while Apple figures out what they have? Really? So we all work for Steve Jobs and his interests now? Really?!?

What I hear is: How dare anyone challenge Apple’s absolute right to be secretive or restrictive? How dare anyone challenge the way Apple PR grants access to events, executives, information, etc.? In general, it’s not good for a company to have this kind of power over its message. Just like it’s not good for a company to have so much power over how its customers interact with the devices it sells them. I know I have a different view on this than most of you here. But enough people share my view that you can expect the Giz situation to repeat itself so long as Apple is so secretive and restrictive. It is not a question of right and wrong. It is a question of is.

Brad Cook

You’re mixing up two different things, Bosco. This really isn’t even about Apple’s trade secrets. This is about private property that should have been immediately returned to its rightful owner.  Calling AppleCare and saying “Oh well, that went nowhere” was a pathetic attempt to do that, especially when the AppleCare rep said he could have tried to do something if the finder had sent in a photo.

The written confirmation from Apple didn’t come until after Gizmodo published their articles.  Again, where was any kind of serious attempt to return the phone before then?  If they really wanted written confirmation, they could have said: “Tell us in writing that it’s yours, or we’ll publish photos of this phone on our site.”

As for publishing the engineer’s name: How about saying “We verified that this prototype iPhone does indeed belong to an Apple employee, but we’re not going to publish his name”?

And if they really wanted to “preempt speculation of untrue nefarious scenarios,” why not publish the name of the guy who found the phone originally?  Why does he merit anonymity?

Pashtun Wally

Bosco, your ‘Ferris Bueller’ schtick is unprincipled and unworthy.  Anyone who wants to know why civilized discussion and principled behavior are so rare should give your weaselly justifications a close look.

It seems you not only don’t know right from wrong, but haven’t realised it yet.

daemon

Why does he merit anonymity?

Because he’s the source?

How about saying ?We verified that this prototype iPhone does indeed belong to an Apple employee, but we?re not going to publish his name??

Because he’s not the source.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Brad, do you feel that Gizmodo was wrong to report on this? Why? Do you feel that the media is obligated to obtain permission to report facts that it discovers?

I’m just surprised that nobody on Apple’s side seems to fault Apple for letting a prototype off its campus if secrecy is so important. And nobody here faults the engineer for his bonehead birthday move. There is to be no accountability for these mistakes, with all outrage at Giz for taking advantage of facts that landed in its lap.

Hilarious!

Dean Lewis

California Penal Code section 485:...

Nice. I hope the appropriate California District Attorney is doing the proper homework, too. smile Seems the question of morality is moot since the law says give it back or you’re guilty of theft.

Tony Touch

Apple must sue.  NOW! for at least 1 BILLION dollars. Gawker should be put out of business. Their editors should be blacklisted. (As a side note: Gawker Media had fleshbot.com up for years without a disclaimer flash page. This allows persons to view hard core porn without a warning - thus proving that they are an establishment without moral fortitude.)
1. Gawker Media knew once it opened the phone, tested it, photographed it and documented it that they had proprietary trade secrets and materials - (UI, design, choice of chips, layout etc.). They chose, against their better judgement to publish the material for their own profit.
In this day and age anyone with access in China can easily make a knockoff. I believe that their are factories in China right now using Gawkers story to make cases, and knockoffs on the basis of the story alone. These knockoff artisans do not consider the whole product or put the millions of dollars in time, and expertise to create what would constitute an iphone - they simply create an imitation to make a profit.
The net effect of this leak is tremendous. Apple has lost a tremendous amount of money with this leak. Google right now has probably assembled a NEXUS team to create a prototype NEXUS 2 phone with a September launch date.
I am prepared to sell my 3GS iphone TODAY in anticipation of the 4G one. I am ready to re-up my contract with ATT. I am going to wait for the second version of the iPad - simply because the iphone’s elements (front facing camera etc. should be on the next ipad. I am going to buy Apple stock. - Lots of it. NOW! I want to develop iPhone ChatRoulette as the next disrupter iphone application (as well as a slew of apps that can use a front facing iPhone camera). 
If I were Steve Jobs, my first decision would be to call a press conference/product reveal next Tuesday and have a low key introduction of the iPhone 4 (based solely on the leak) with availability pushed back to July. This would calm the market, continue the high coming off of the record earning and prevent the corporate espionage that will inevitably occur - by simply making public what every manufacturer will now be seeking to copy. My second decision would be to accelerate all related patent applications. My third decision would be to use the cash horde that I have at Apple to purchase all available Flash memory and related components to starve my competitors from gaining the components needed for a knockoff.  My forth decision would be to assemble a top flight legal team in Taiwan and China and pre-empitively sue all electronics manufacturers to prevent knockoff production.  This leak should have an adverse effect on the stock price, however stock price fluctuations should be mitigated by the LUST and demand generated from this leak.
Lastly, the engineer who lost the phone and his boss should be terminated or, reassigned and Apple must change its policy for in the field testing of its devices - IMMEDIATELY.
At the end of the day its just a phone, but we are still in a technological war and this product represents paid mindshare of the best engineers in the world. Gawker media’s prostitution of Apple’s upcoming iPhone, severly dilutes this mindshare and definitely shows the best and worst aspects of America’s corporate morals.

Brad Cook

Bosco: My guess is, Apple lets iPhone prototypes off campus so that engineers can test them in real world conditions. I’m sure this is not the first, nor probably last, time an iPhone 4G has wandered around the Bay Area.

And, yes, that engineer deserves a reprimand for what he did. I hope he wasn’t fired, but he deserved punishment for screwing up.  I just don’t understand what good it does to rub salt in his wounds by publishing all the details of his mistake, including his identity, while letting the person who found the phone remain anonymous.  If you’re concerned about Giz putting all the facts out there, then why did they hide the identity of the person who found the phone?

And how the heck did that guy leave it on a bar stool anyway?  Was he sitting on it?  I guess I can see how one might manage to do that, but it seems convenient.  Why wasn’t it on the floor?

Makes me wonder if the story of how the phone came to Giz is on the up-and-up.

RE reporting the story:  I think the media should use discretion.  They don’t need to report on everything they come across (and I say that as someone who has been in the media).  If you’re going to put some poor engineer in even hotter water, why do you need to publish his name?  What do you gain out of it, other than trying to wring every last detail out of the story?  (Except the ID of the guy who found the phone, of course.)

And when it comes to breaking the law, I think that needs to be on a case by case basis.  I’m sure someone can come up with a situation where a reporter would be justified in breaking the law to crack a story with serious implications.  A lost iPhone 4G isn’t one of them.  The bottom line is, Gizmodo broke the law in how they handled this situation.  That’s indisputable.

Lee Dronick

And how the heck did that guy leave it on a bar stool anyway?? Was he sitting on it?? I guess I can see how one might manage to do that, but it seems convenient.? Why wasn?t it on the floor?

I have my iPhone slip out of the pocket when I am wearing Dockers ? or similar slacks, usually when sitting on the throne. But yeah, on a bar stool? I could understand a bench seat or club chair.

Substance

Bosco, I hope that when you lose your wallet it ends up in someone’s hands who will go through it, blog about what’s in it, post whatever pictures you haveion there, publish your name and where you lost it at, and only then offer to return it to you.

Terrin

That is BS. First, Gizmondo wouldn’t have paid five thousand dollars if it didn’t think the device was real. If I saw a guy selling brand new TVs from the back of a truck and I bought one, if the police caught me, I would be open to prosecution if those items turned out to be stolen because the prosecution probably could prove I suspected the items to be stolen.

This is no different. Gizmondo had strong reason to suspect the device was Apple’s property. It had the means to contact Apple to return the device [any self-respecting news source knows how to contact the upper echelon of Apple management]. It should have done so.

It might not have to keep the process secret [that is debatable because Trade secret laws might in fact have required it to keep the process secret). It, however, likely has no right to dismantle the device when it suspects it knows who the owner is. Further, in most jurisdictions, the applicable part of California included,  people who find lost or stolen property valued at over $100 are required to turn that property over to the police. If after a certain period of time the property is unclaimed, you would be allowed to keep it. GIzmondo’s English so called legal expert clearly didn’t research that very hard. 

OK, so what if it didn?t actually belong to Apple? Does that change the ethics of this? Evaluated that way, I don?t think you can fault their handling one bit. They wanted written confirmation. They got it. They returned it. They were under no obligation to keep the process secret. Apple is probably fortunate that Giz ponied up $5K and took possession that Apple could address.

If Apple can?t or won?t keep its secret devices out of bars where they might be lost, this is on Apple, not anyone who might be interested in knowing about those secret devices.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

If you can all look in the mirror and truthfully say you’d be just as outraged if this were the mythical Microsoft Courier unicorn and tablet set, the fine. As to my wallet, Substance, if it’s ever that interesting, I’ll have laughed my way to the bank and back 1000 times and won’t really give a damn other than the goofy picture on my gym membership.

Sometimes when you’re big and successful, someone comes along and kicks you in the nuts after you make a misstep. Who knows if Apple will just let it go. If they don’t brush it off, in the asymmetrical war against Apple secrecy and control, everyone would then know how to provoke them.

Substance

Upon getting written confirmation that it was Apple?s property, they returned it. If you found someone?s wallet, and it had valuable things like cash and credit cards in it, wouldn?t you want some assurance that you?re turning it over to the rightful owner?

Give it rest Bosco.  Gizmondo knew it was Apple’s, otherwise why did they spend $5K to get it.  Pathetic argument.

What I hear is: How dare anyone challenge Apple?s absolute right to be secretive or restrictive?... Just like it?s not good for a company to have so much power over how its customers interact with the devices it sells them…you can expect the Giz situation to repeat itself so long as Apple is so secretive and restrictive. It is not a question of right and wrong. It is a question of is.

Well of course that’s all you hear, because that’s how you interpret all Apple news. 

When I first heard about the iPhone prototype Monday morning, I looked and analysed the pictures like most eveyone else here.  No big deal.  But when the story broke Monday night that Gizmondo had outed the guy, that sent a chill up my spine and I’m sure most others who read it. 

Apple’s intellectual property getting spilled didn’t raise much objections.  It’s not news Bosco, it’s typical cat & mouse.  But as soon as this got personal by Gizmondo publishing the iPhone owner’s name, pictures, discourse, etc. then it became news.  Because most people knew right away that Gizmondo’s actions were wrong.  We can all put ourselves in that guy’s shoes and while he messed up and surely is in hot water at Apple (if not unemployed), he didn’t deserve to be outed like that.

The fact that this doesn’t bother you and you’d rather argue that Apple had it coming - another issue entirely - shows me that you are either nothing but a troll or a very cold, uncaring individual. 

And the situation will repeat itself not just because Apple is secretive, but because Apple makes products that people lust after.  You may not lust after them, but the world doesn’t revolve around you, nor are there any Web sites dedicated to you like BoscoObserver.  And that’s a good thing because that would be one dreary place.

Vern Seward

Well, I can’t speak for anyone else but myself, and I would give ANY device I find back to its rightful owner. It doesn’t matter who the owner is.

Also, Apple has every right to keep secrets. You protect your own secrets and would be miffed if someone found out about… Whoa! That was close. I almost spilled the bean there Bosco. grin


As a side note, The Courier looks intriguing, but I can see where it might note be for everyone.

Vern

Substance

If you can all look in the mirror and truthfully say you?d be just as outraged if this were the mythical Microsoft Courier unicorn and tablet set, the fine.

If MacObserver outed the guy who lost the (currently vaporware) Microsoft Courier, you’d bet I’d be outraged at them.

As to my wallet, Substance, if it?s ever that interesting, I?ll have laughed my way to the bank and back 1000 times and won?t really give a damn other than the goofy picture on my gym membership.

Way to avoid the question (as usual).  So it doesn’t bother you one bit that Gizmondo outed the individual?  And you really wouldn’t mind if someone found your wallet, knew it was yours, but instead of not returning it, published what they found on the Internet?  No tap dancing, no blaming this on Apple’s secrecty, just answer the question.

Jonny

Finders Keepers

it was a setup

interesting how Apples stock jumped today after this half baked announcement.
AAPL Leaps $16.42 in After Hours Trading to $261

BTW . . Thanks for the phone it rocks

Brad Cook

This is going in circles, but I wanted to make one final point: I was watching a news story about this tonight, and a tech journalist pointed out that Apple had 200 of its employees covertly testing the original iPhone in the field, before it was released.  I have to imagine they’ve done something similar with every iteration since then.  In fact, it would be easier to do it now, since all they have to do is make it look like a current model and no one is the wiser. iPhones are everywhere, especially in the Bay Area.

rjackb

I agree with you entirely, Vern. What happened to common decency?

dtnick

If you found a guy?s wallet, and that guy happened to be a public official, and in addition to $1000, it contained some incriminating evidence that called his integrity into question, I think you?d be obligated to report that or give it to someone who would. So this must return lost property thing isn?t so clear cut as it appears.

Is it in the public’s interest to know that a public official is lacking integrity? Probably so.

Is it in the public interest to know what the next iPhone looks like?
Probably not.

Is it in the public interest to out the identity of the guy who lost said next iPhone?
Probably not.

This is the difference between the scenario you describe and what Gizmodo did.

zewazir

interesting how Apples stock jumped today after this half baked announcement.
AAPL Leaps $16.42 in After Hours Trading to $261

The jump in stock is in response to Apple’s 2Q Earnings Report setting a record March Quarter profit of over $3 billion. It has nothing to do with a lost iPhone.

Nookster

And so we end up with yet another fabricated enemy of Apple, there can’t be many companies or websites left to hate now…

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