A few days ago, technology blog Valleywag’s launched its Apple Tablet Scavenger Hunt, a sort-of contest in which people with evidence of the existence of Apple’s much-rumoured tablet could win large sums of money. Apple apparently wasn’t amused, as the company resorted to its usual tactic whenever it doesn’t like something in the press: litigation, litigation, litigation.
In the Tablet Scavenger Hunt, you could win 10000 USD for pictures of the device, 20000 USD for a video, 50000 USD for Steve Jobs holding a tablet, and 100000 USD if you let Valleywag plat with it for an hour. This rather playful action felt more like old-fashioned mockery of the hype than like an actual, serious contest.
Apple, a company which you can’t really accuse of having a sense of humour, didn’t like the contest. They resorted to their usual tactic whenever something’s in the press that they do not approve of: they start litigating, most often in the form of the infamous cease and desist letter.
Valleywag is taking it well, stating they have a winner in the competition. “Congratulations, Michael Spillner of the prestigious Menlo Park law firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe!” Valleywag writes, “Your ‘Letter from Apple’ demanding that we stop the Scavenger Hunt – specifically the line ‘Apple has maintained the types of information and things you are soliciting […] in strict confidence’ – is the most concrete evidence (from Apple itself, no less!) yet that there may indeed be a tablet in the works.”
Apple has a history of sending in the lawyers whenever the press report something they don’t like. I have no idea if asking for information that is under an NDA (mind: an NDA is a contract between Apple and the employee in question – not Valleywag) is illegal, but apparently, Apple thinks it is (as it details in the letter).
In a sane world, Apple would have nothing on the bloggers or journalists publishing this information, since those bloggers and journalists did not enter into a contract (NDA) with Apple. Sadly, the world isn’t sane, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see if Apple was able to silence websites this way. They’ve done it before, but mostly through settlements.
Glad to see you are supporting Apple’s latest step in their almost flawless and brilliant viral marketing of the tablet.
Sending a letter from their lawyers costs nothing and pushes so many buttons in sites like this that it generates yet more countless clicks and eyeballs.
Let’s hope that the actual tablet/slate is as good as their marketing – I personally think it will be way better and way more of a big deal than most people are expecting but hopefully we will find out for sure very soon