Apple has been crowned the third strongest global brand in the world and Steve Jobs seems to be already flexing his new-found extra muscle.
Last Friday, armed with a search warrant, California’s Rapid Enforcement Allied Computer Team searched the home and car of Jason Chen, editor of the popular tech blog Gizmodo, in Fremont and seized computers, digital cameras, a cellphone and other items.
Jason’s fault: last week he posted pictures and dissected details of an iPhone prototype found in a bar in Redwood City in San Mateo County. The new iPhone, which Gizmodo reportedly acquired for $5,000 from an undisclosed person, had been disguised to look like an iPhone3GS. After the scoop, Apple acknowledged the device belonged to the company, and the Gizmodo returned it.
But Apple was clearly not going to let the matter end. The search warrant issued by a Superior Court judge in San Mateo County said Chen’s computers and other devices may have been used to commit a felony. In the raid that followed, members of the Rapid Enforcement Allied Computer Team took away several computers, hard drives, digital cameras, cellphones and other gadgets, plus Chen’s American Express bill and copies of his cheques.
Gawker Media, which owns Gizmodo, claimed the warrant was invalid as California’s shield law, which protects journalists from having to turn over anonymous sources or unpublished material to law enforcement during a search, should apply to Chen’s property too. Reports said the company is seriously contemplating a case against the sheriff’s office in San Mateo County, California for conducting the raid.
Among those backing Gizmodo is Jon Stewart of the The Daily Show who went on to term Jobs & Co “appholes” in his popular talk show on Comedy Central. He didn’t stop there and followed it up with a direct message for Jobs. “Look in the mirror, man! ... It wasn’t supposed to be this way — Microsoft was supposed to be the evil one!”
An official response from Apple is awaited, but rest assured this is not the last you have heard of the matter.