Apple’s rumour site closes after settlement

Think Secret, a blogger’s website that became a source of leaks about forthcoming Apple products, has been shut down as part of a legal settlement between its author and the maker of the iPod.

Mr Ciarelli, then 19 and a Harvard undergraduate, had been running the site since he was 13 under the name Nick dePlume.

The closure angered bloggers. Techdirt said it would have a chilling effect, while Matthew Ingram wrote: “Apple comes off looking like some power-crazed South American dictator, the kind who can’t stand it when the media reveal government secrets and so arrests the entire press corps.”

However, Mr Ciarelli’s lawyer – Terry Gross, counsel to the Electronic Frontier Foundation civil liberties group – said the news was positive for journalism.

He told Computerworld that Apple thought they would lose any legal case and chose to settle. Mr Ciarelli had willingly closed the site as he wanted to move on to other things.

A statement on the Think Secret site said there had been a positive solution for both sides. As part of the confidential settlement, Mr Ciarelli did not have to reveal his sources for the leaks, but Think Secret would no longer be published. An Apple spokesman echoed the statement.

Mr Ciarelli said: “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.”

The writer has been a reporter and editor for the Harvard Crimson college newspaper.

Think Secret revealed details of several forthcoming Apple products in 2003 and 2004, including the Mac Mini.

Apple had also brought suits against O’Grady’s PowerPage and AppleInsider.

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