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Apple Shut Down Think Secret

Freedom of speech and the constitution in the US don't prevail.

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Nick Ciarelli arrived at a settlement with Apple. Apple will not learn the identities of Ciarelli's sources and in return Ciarelli will publish no more.

Long live Apple.

The Mac mini Secret

Things came to a boiling point when Ciarelli accurately predicted the release of the Mac mini. On 28 December 2004 Ciarelli's Think Secret revealed Apple planned on unveiling 'a bare bones G4 based iMac without a display' at Macworld 2005 that would 'retail for $499' according to Ciarelli's traditionally 'highly reliable sources'.

The new Mac is said to be incredibly small and will be housed in a flat enclosure with a height similar to the 1.73 inches of Apple's Xserve. Its size benefits will include the ability to stand the Mac on its side or put it below a display or monitor.

The announcement of the new inexpensive Mac will be a dream come true for Mac aficionados who have begged and pleaded for years to see just such a PC. Until now the company has downplayed speculation that it would get into the low-end PC market.

Who's the Loser?

Apple rep Steve Dowling told the LA times 'results are positive for both sides'; Ciarelli told the LA Times 'I'm pleased to have reached this amicable settlement'; but what exactly happened?

Pundits have two theories: either Apple threatened Ciarelli with long drawn out expensive litigation or they dangled a six digit sum of cash in his face. Either way Ciarelli, 13 at the time he started the site and 19 when Apple sued, hasn't had to reveal his sources. Which seems to be an important part of what Apple were after as obviously someone had broken their NDA.

Constitutional Protection

Recognised journalists in the US are of course protected from such corporate harassment. In a separate lawsuit Apple sued to uncover the identity of Apple staff who leaked information to other blogs but lost the case last year when the San Jose appeals court ruled bloggers are protected by the same rights as ordinary journalists.

Which of course leads to speculation what would have happened if the Ciarelli case continued - and what will happen now.

See Also
David Ramel: I hate Macs
BusinessWeek: Think Secret RIP
InformationWeek: Think Secret No More
eFluxMedia: ThinkSecret.com Is No More
The Digital Home: Think Secret - Possible Scenarios
ComputerWorld: Apple the losers in ThinkSecret deal
PC Pro UK: Apple settlement shuts down ThinkSecret
eNews 2.0: Apple Settles in Order to Close ThinkSecret Web Site
SFGate.com: Apple, blog settle suit; Think Secret closes but won't name source

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