1. Editor's Note: Apple Against The Rest Of Us
2. Today's Top Story
- Big Plans, Unanswered Questions For Microsoft
- 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
1. Editor's Note: Apple Against The Rest Of Us
The company that made media history with its classic "1984" Super Bowl commercial is acting suspiciously like an organization out of the George Orwell novel it was based on.
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.
Big Plans, Unanswered Questions For Microsoft
Test versions of Windows Vista, Longhorn server, and Office 2007 are signs of progress, but $2.4 billion in additional spending has yet to be explained.
Symantec-Microsoft Lawsuit Shows Vista Straining Business Ties
The case is about storage technology, but it shows how Vista will move Microsoft into competition in new areas.
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.
Businesses Mine Data To Predict What Happens Next
Real-time information is no longer fast enough for some companies. The trend is applying predictive analysis to everything from patient care to airline safety.
Tech Giants, Nonprofits Make Ambitious Push With Cheap PCs
Intel, AMD, and others hope their efforts in the underdeveloped world will cultivate new and big markets for the future.
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.
Mozilla Launches Next Firefox 2.0 Alpha
Additions include a built-in anti-phishing feature and suggestions for searches run in Google and Yahoo.
Google Tops Halfway Mark For Search-Engine Market Share
Google's 50% share of the market eclipsed that of No. 2 Yahoo and No. 3 Microsoft MSN, which accounted for 22% and 11% of the market, respectively, Nielsen/NetRatings said.
Full House To Take Up Bipartisan Net Neutrality Bill
The bill, also called the Internet Freedom and Nondiscrimination Act of 2006, was introduced last week.
Microsoft: Less Than Half Of U.S. Adults Are Up To Speed On Tech Terms
A Microsoft-sponsored survey found that less than 50% of U.S. adults are hip to the latest technology buzzwords, and even fewer can say what VoIP, RSS, or tagging means.
Apple Punishes Samsung For iPod Gaffe: Analyst
A Samsung executive's boast that his firm had won new iPod business caused Apple to get its chips from another supplier, one analyst is saying.
In the current episode:
John Soat With 'Legal Affairs'
The H-1B Visa cap gets raised, Nextel sues IBM over outsourcing, Apple loses its case to online journalists, and more.
Larry Greenemeier With 'The eBay Of Fraudsters'
Law enforcement struggles to keep up with data thieves.
Stephanie Stahl With 'Nature's Way'
Jean-Louis Ecochard, CIO of The Nature Conservancy, wishes WiMax were ubiquitous.
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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.
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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.
Study: U.S. Engineers Competitive Vs. China, India
China and India include graduates of two- and three-year programs in their statistics. And particularly in China, the term "engineer" is used more loosely than in the U.S., the study says.
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.
Down To Business: IT Globalization: Don't Kill The Messenger
Don't try to seal off our borders, either. Employment and pay are up, so we must be doing something right.
Here's A Twist: Workers In India Fear Outsourcing
Paul McDougall comments on the irony of Indian workers employed by the country's reserve bank holding demonstrations to protest possible plans to outsource routine jobs to the private sector.
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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