Mercury News: Apple Risks Losing "Hip" Status in Mac Site Lawsuits

Apple Computer should "think differently" about its lawsuits and subpoenas against three Mac Web sites or risk losing its reputation, according to veteran technology columnist Mike Langberg.

In an open letter to Apple CEO Steve Jobs, Mr. Langberg argued that by suing a 19-year old Harvard student and other small Web site operators, Apple risks losing its status as a "hip underdog" and "cool alternative to bigger and blander competitors such as Microsoft, Dell and Hewlett-Packard."

Mr. Langbergis open letter, which was published in Appleis home town San Jose Mercury News, is in reply to Apple suing or issuing subpoenas to PowerPage, Think Secret, and AppleInsider in order to force them to reveal their sources for leaked product information. This, he wrote, threatens to put Apple in the role of Goliath, instead of its usual David.

"Apple looks comfortable, even smug," he wrote, "by insisting online publishers such as the 19-year-old Harvard University freshman who runs Think Secret should face huge financial liabilities just because itis embarrassing for you to introduce new products at the big Macworld show after details have been revealed in advance online.

"You donit want to look hypocritical. Youive grabbed the media spotlight with both hands, much to Appleis benefit, so you shouldnit suddenly complain the beam is too bright."

Mr. Langbergis editorial is one of several such pieces as of late criticizing Apple for its legal efforts against the three Web sites. The San Jose Mercury News also printed an editorial Thursday, in which it called Appleis anti-rumor lawsuits "misguided."