Streisand effect drives book Apple tried to halt to no. 1 on Amazon

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App Store Confidential
Who would've thought publicity would've helped?
Screenshot: Amazon

Call it the Streisand effect if you want, but the book written by a former App Store manager that Apple attempted to ban has risen to the number one spot on Amazon’s book charts in the writer’s native country.

Apple lawyers have tried to lean on the publishers to destroy all copies of the book. They claim that it contains inside secrets.

Unsurprisingly, this has sparked a whole lot of interest in a book that — by its own admission — shares only publicly available details about how Apple approves third-party apps in Germany.

The Streisand effect, for those unfamiliar with it, is a phenomenon in which attempts to hide, remove, or censor information results in it receiving way more publicity than it would have ordinarily. It’s named after Barbra Streisand‘s attempt to stop the publishing of photos of her Malibu, California home in 2003. In the end, it resulted in way more press and online attention than would otherwise have been the case.

Streisand effect holds true for Apple book

In this case, Apple’s letters regarding the book written by “self-styled German rapper, ski instructor and marketing manager Tom Sadowski,” who worked for Apple for 10 years through 2019, appears to have only elevated its publicity.

That’s despite the fact that, as Reuters notes, “the book betrays few – if any – details over how the $1.4 trillion US company does business.”

The only exceptions are “a brief account of a visit by CEO Tim Cook to Berlin and tips on how app developers should pitch their wares to Apple.” The section on Cook’s 2017 visit does not contain any details of what was said at meetings. At the start of the 180-page book, it states that all the facts it contains are already publicly available.

Cupertino’s lawyers have asked Sadowski and publisher Murmann Verlag to destroy all manuscripts of the German-language book. It also wants it to recall any copies currently in circulation. Apple says the book contains information that is of “considerable economic value” to the company.

However, Sadowski’s lawyer notes that, despite threats, Apple has yet to sign a court injunction over the book. “It looks like Apple has gone a bit far tactically, building up pressure and issuing threats but then lacking the courage actually to go to court,” lawyer Ralph Oliver Graef said.

Graef’s website notes that he specialises in press and publishing law, alongside German and international copyright law.

According to the book’s publishers Murmann Verlag, the first print of the book run of 4,000 copies is selling well. It is also rushing ahead with a second print run. “Everyone is talking about it,” Peter Felixberger, an executive at Murmann, told Reuters.

Did Apple fire author over the book?

Apple says that it fired Sadowski over the book. “All workers should have the reasonable expectation that employment policies will be equally and fairly applied and all companies should have the reasonable expectation that their business practices will be kept confidential,” Apple said in a statement.

Sadowski, for his part, said that Apple only learned about the book in December after he left in November. He reportedly submitted the book to Apple in January.

Cult of Mac has contacted Sadowski, his lawyer, and publisher. We will update if we hear back. We have also ordered a copy of the book, which is due to arrive on Saturday.

Source: CNBC/Reuters