Think Secret Settles Apple Lawsuit, Shuts Down

UPDATE: I just got off the phone with Nick Ciarelli, Think Secret’s publisher, and wrote it up for my day job over at Wired: Apple Kills Think Secret: Publisher Nick Ciarelli Talks

Apple rumor reporter extraordinaire Nick Ciarelli is shuttering his Think Secret website after settling a trade secrets lawsuit with Apple, Ciarelli writes on his website.

Apple had sued Ciarelli, who is studying at Harvard, after he published details of an unreleased music breakout box codenamed “Asteroid.” Apple sought the identity of whoever leaked the product details.

The settlement of the suit is confidential Ciarelli says, but doesn’t involve the identity of the leaker. But it does include closing his site.

“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,” Ciarelli said in a statement.

I’ve already sent Nick an email asking if he’ll contribute to Wired News.

  • Swift2

    Well, to be frank, Think Secret did have some very knowledgeable source inside Apple. There was one MacWorld where they have a pretty close description of everything Apple would launch, two or three days’ ahead. Apple is very, very close to the vest on these things. Whoever was leaking could obviously be fired — this was not a case where you could say that the public interest required that everyone know about the new iPods two days before Steve got on the stage. So, if Apple agree not to go after its leaker, and paid Think Secret to stop publishing, I think that’s okay, as wild as that sounds. Knowing the precise outlines of the iPhone a week ahead has implications for Apple’s stock value. They keep secrets better than anybody, including the CIA. Apple got its ears pinned back because of the California law that says these sites are journalism, and journalists cannot be required to divulge their sources. As a result, the financial settlement must have been high. And Think Secret, with its secret source no longer giving them tips, didn’t have much of interest anymore.

  • Ric

    I have been a mac fan since getting a 128K mac in the early 80’s. What made apple so exciting was they seemed to be different, they cared about the user, not in some hippy CO-OP way were we all in this knitting our own yoghurt but as a user of the product. It treated the computer not as the once touted toaster but as a finely engineered extension to your self, like a quality watch a good suit or a fine motorcycle. It extended what you could do, it gave you freedom to explore the new digital world in a way that was both almost natural and yet total new and modern. They trusted you as a user and you trusted them. Thanks Apple it was so much fun. But now were both old, stuck in our ways curmudgeonly, quick to offend and just past it and well, its just over.

  • David Marshall

    Without knowing all the particulars, this troubling news highlights the darker side of Apple. While companies need to protect their intellectual property, Apple creates its own headaches by thwarting the press and picking on bloggers who can’t fight back. This rant is typed on Apple’s sweet new keyboard by an excellent web designer listening to iTunes while charging his iPod on an Intel iMac. Long live Newton.

  • Brian Scavo

    This is saddening, considering ThinkSecret and Cult of Mac are my top two sources for Mac news. :(

  • paul

    yeah, i can understand how people get upset when Apple moves like this, but the fact remains that they have to protect trade secrets. I don’t see how they can avoid that and remain competitive.

  • Andrew DK

    A necessary evil.
    Oh well.

  • E Strand

    Can they do anything about this? Think Secret ?

About the author

Leander KahneyLeander Kahney is the editor and publisher of Cult of Mac. He is the NYT bestselling author of Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple's Greatest Products; Inside Steve’s Brain; Cult of Mac; and Cult of iPod. Leander has written for Wired, MacWeek, Scientific American, and The Guardian in London. Follow Leander on Twitter @lkahney and Facebook.

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