Apple forces rumour sites to think twice

21 Dec 2007

Think Secret, a highly prominent website specialising in publishing rumours about all things Apple, today said it will be shutting down after a settlement with the Cupertino-based company was reached and the lawsuit, ongoing since 2005, was dropped.

In 2005, Think Secret published a rumour indicating that Apple was building a new Mac as well as word processing software – two weeks later CEO of Apple Steve Jobs announced both the MacMini and iWorks at the Macworld conference.

Immediately following this, Apple sued the site, which was established in 1998 by then 13-year-old Nick Ciarelli, for unlawfully releasing trade secrets to the public domain.

The site’s publisher, who is now 22, 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.”

However, several official and print news outlets had published the same rumours around the same time period but never got hit by Apple for a lawsuit regarding publication of these alleged trade secrets.

Running for the past nine years, Think Secret soon gained a reputation amongst Apple fans for reliable rumours on all things Mac-related after being the first on the scene with the Macworld announcement.

Apple has not publicly commented on this settlement save for telling the New York Times that the company was “happy to have this behind us”.

Last year the iPod and iPhone manufacturer was denied the right to demand disclosure of Think Secret’s sources by a California court for the story in question, which resulted in the shutting down of the site but maintained a ‘confidential settlement’.

A notoriously watertight company when it comes to announcements on new products and services, the company said in an official statement last year: “Apple’s DNA is innovation, and the protection of our trade secrets is crucial to our success.”

By Marie Boran