In This Issue: 1. Editor's Note: Apple Against The Rest Of Us 2. Today's Top Story - Big Plans, Unanswered Questions For Microsoft Related stories: - Symantec-Microsoft Lawsuit Shows Vista Straining Business Ties - Microsoft Names Vista Browser IE7+ 3. Breaking News - Businesses Mine Data To Predict What Happens Next - Tech Giants, Nonprofits Make Ambitious Push With Cheap PCs - Microsoft To Add Web Conferencing To Next LCS - Microsoft Unveils Mac Desktop - Mozilla Launches Next Firefox 2.0 Alpha - Google Tops Halfway Mark For Search-Engine Market Share - Full House To Take Up Bipartisan Net Neutrality Bill - Microsoft: Less Than Half Of U.S. Adults Are Up To Speed On Tech Terms - Apple Punishes Samsung For iPod Gaffe: Analyst 4. Grab Bag - How iPods Took Over The World (The Observer) - Oracle Exec Hits Out At 'Patch' Mentality (CNET) - Music Phones Want To Be Free (Wired News) 5. In Depth: Immigration And High Tech - IEEE-USA Blasts Senate High-Tech Visa Provisions - U.S. Holds Own Vs. China, India Engineer Grads - High-Tech Groups Laud Senate Immigration Bill - Study: U.S. Engineers Competitive Vs. China, India - Time To Doff H-1B Cap? - Down To Business: IT Globalization: Don't Kill The Messenger 6. Voice Of Authority - Here's A Twist: Workers In India Fear Outsourcing 7. White Papers - The Essential Guide To Fax Over VoIP 8. Get More Out Of InformationWeek 9. Manage Your Newsletter Subscription
Quote of the day: "Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo." -- Apple Computer advertisement, circa 1996
Yes, I'm talking about Apple's attempts to force online publishers to disclose their sources of confidential information.
In case you haven't been following the story, in December 2004 Apple filed a lawsuit against unnamed individuals who had allegedly leaked information about an unreleased music hardware product (an audio interface for Apple's GarageBand music software) to several Mac enthusiast Web sites, including AppleInsider.com and PowerPage. Apple wasted no time subpoenaing Nfox, PowerPage's ISP, to gain access to the communications and records of PowerPage's publisher in order to identify the leakers.
In a ruling that sent a chill through both the blogging and online/offline journalism communities, Apple in early March won the right to force online publishers to disclose their sources.
But at the end of last week, the news was much better. On May 26, a California appeals court ruled against Apple, saying journalists have the same right to protect confidential sources whether they publish in online or traditional media. The verdict: California's "shield law" protects everyone engaged in news gathering—no matter what media ultimately publishes that news. The judges wrote: "We can think of no reason to doubt that the operator of a public Web site is a 'publisher' for purposes of this language."
Now I'm no Apple basher. I love my Mac, you can't separate me from my iPod, and I'm in general awe of the innovation and attention to detail that makes the experience of using an Apple product incomparable to other PCs or consumer electronics devices.
But there's always been a disconnect between the brand image Apple (successfully) conveys—that of an ultracool bunch of creative free spirits supporting a delightfully iconoclastic community of likewise free spirits—and that of the real Apple culture, which is secretive, litigious, and almost paranoid in its attitude toward the outside world.
After all, in the end this lawsuit is about much, much more than whether Apple product news had been divulged in advance of an official announcement. It has enormously broad implications for our society at large. As the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which helped defend the online publishers against the suit, pointed out, because all journalists—not just online ones—often depend on confidential sources to gather material, their ability to promise that they will protect those sources is absolutely essential to nurturing a robust and independent media.
Ironically, by its actions Apple is seeking to curtail some of the very freedoms that its staunchly loyal user base most believes in. Because there's no doubt that if Apple prevails in its lawsuit, the case law generated would be used in future cases to limit the rights of publishers of all kinds of content in all kinds of media.
Interestingly, the Superior Court's ruling against Apple specifically pointed out that online bloggers—particularly those covering the technology arena—are doing society an enormous service. Again quoting the court documents: "It is often impossible to predict with confidence which technological changes will affect individual and collective life dramatically, and which will come and go without lasting effects. Any of them may revolutionize society in ways we can only guess at."
As a result (said the court), the right for the public to get information that will allow it to anticipate and prepare for such technological changes is "the birthright of every human."
Strong words. But we needed to hear them.
What do you think? Do you think this latest ruling was fair? Or do you think Apple acted perfectly within its rights to try and find out who had leaked its upcoming product information? Let me know by responding to my blog.
Microsoft Names Vista Browser IE7+ The new moniker will denote Vista-only features in that operating system's browser, including protected mode, parental controls, and better network diagnostics—all of which are missing from the Windows XP version.
Microsoft To Add Web Conferencing To Next LCS The company has been working to converge the Live Meeting and Live Communications Server code bases over time, although company executives have said they plan to continue offering both hosted Web conferencing and an on-premises version.
Microsoft Unveils Mac Desktop Mac Modifier Keys provide "control, option and command" buttons, and a Zoom Slider allows magnification of digital photos and other media.
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4. Grab Bag
How iPods Took Over The World (The Observer) A columnist asserts that soon all consumer products and services will emulate Apple's iPod and its ecosystem, which have created a new way for people to think about the relationship between customers and producers.
Oracle Exec Hits Out At 'Patch' Mentality (CNET) In an interview, Oracle's chief security officer rails against the fact that most software engineers have contributed to a culture of "patch, patch, patch" that has cost enterprises as much as $59 billion.
Music Phones Want To Be Free (Wired News) Consumers are telling manufacturers that they would swap their standalone digital media players for music-capable cell phones in a heartbeat. But the industry could squash this promising market before it has a chance to get out of the starting gate.
IEEE-USA Blasts Senate High-Tech Visa Provisions "We don't understand why the Senate wants to expand a program that numerous government reports have found leaves U.S and foreign workers open to exploitation," IEEE-USA president Ralph Wyndrum Jr. said.
U.S. Holds Own Vs. China, India Engineer Grads The numbers don't add up. China and India aren't turning out nearly as many engineers annually as commonly believed, Duke University researchers report, and the ones that do graduate are probably not as well-trained as their U.S. counterparts.
High-Tech Groups Laud Senate Immigration Bill The key provision sought by technology companies was an expanded high-tech visa program, and they got it. The Senate bill proposes raising the cap on H-1B visas for highly educated temporary workers to 115,000 per fiscal year, a huge jump from the current 65,000.
Time To Doff H-1B Cap? With Congress bogged down debating far-reaching immigration reform, a new bill proposes separating the issue of whether to raise the annual limit on H-1B visas given to foreign technologists and other professionals.
The Essential Guide To Fax Over VoIP With the increasingly widespread implementation of VoIP-capable network routers and switches in enterprises around the globe, a new opportunity is opening up for companies to leverage Fax over IP.
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