Skip navigation

WinInfo Daily UPDATE, March 14, 2005

This email newsletter comes to you free and is supported by the following advertiser, which offers products and services in which you might be interested. Please take a moment to visit this advertiser's Web site and show your support for WinInfo Daily UPDATE.

SQL Server Magazine

Sponsor: SQL Server Magazine

Get SQL Server Magazine and Get Answers

Throughout the year in 2005, SQL Server Magazine is on target to deliver comprehensive coverage of all hot industry topics including, SQL Server 2005, performance tuning, security, Reporting Services, Integration Services, and .NET development. If you aren't already a subscriber, now is the time to sign up. You'll get unlimited online access to every article ever published in the magazine, and you'll get 30 percent off the cover price. Don't miss out ... sign up today:


In the News

- Microsoft Pays $60 Million to Settle Suit
- Analysis: Enthusiast Web Sites Forced to Reveal Sources to Apple

==== In the News ====

by Paul Thurrott, [email protected]

Microsoft Pays $60 Million to Settle Suit

Microsoft has reached a tentative agreement to settle a patent-infringement, intellectual property theft, and antitrust lawsuit that filed against the software giant. Under terms of the preliminary "agreement in principle," which Microsoft announced Friday, the company will pay $60 million and will receive nonexclusive access to's patent portfolio.
"While we were confident of prevailing in this lawsuit, we have been open from the beginning to finding a reasonable way to resolve this case," Tom Burt, Microsoft corporate vice president and deputy general counsel, said. "Securing a license to the patent portfolio through this settlement allows us to focus on the continued development and deployment of Windows Media technologies to deliver the ultimate media experience to our partners and customers." noted that the settlement validates its claims and proves that its work was both pioneering and innovative. sued Microsoft in June 2002, alleging that Microsoft had courted the company in a bid to purchase its then-new audio- and video-streaming technology. After 2 years of working closely with, however, Microsoft suddenly broke off the relationship and shipped a suspiciously similar technology as part of Windows Media 9 Series. says that Microsoft stole its streaming technology and then systematically destroyed related and damaging inhouse documentation to hide that fact.
Is that claim true? We might never know whether Microsoft actually stole's digital media technologies. But this week's settlement, although in keeping with Microsoft's recent trend of settling outstanding litigation, is sure to harm the company's reputation. And the case isn't the only Microsoft case that deals with digital media: The RealNetworks lawsuit against Microsoft is still outstanding.

Analysis: Enthusiast Web Sites Forced to Reveal Sources to Apple

A California judge in the County of Santa Clara has ruled that representatives of three Macintosh enthusiast Web sites must reveal the insider sources who disclosed plans about upcoming Apple Computer products. Apple, a darling of the media and its users, is risking its untarnished reputation by taking on its most ardent fans, who regularly trade secrets and rumors about the company's upcoming products. It might come as a surprise to some people, however, that Judge James P. Kleinberg, who is overseeing the case, has issued a well-reasoned ruling in defense of Apple's claims, albeit one that is sure to ignite free speech debates for months to come.
"\[Apple's\] trade secrets ... are stolen property," the ruling reads. "The information is not transformed by its form or who receives it. An interested public is not the same thing as the public interest. The right to keep and maintain proprietary information as such is a right \[that\] California legislature and courts have long affirmed and is essential to the future of technology and innovation generally. The Court denies the \[defendants'\] request for a protective order."
Apple filed suits against, O'Grady's PowerPage, and in mid-December, charging those enthusiast sites with leaking Apple trade secrets. Specifically, the company noted that the sites divulged specific information about several upcoming products, including a FireWire (IEEE 1394) audio interface for the GarageBand software package. Apple sought to gain access to the email records of the individuals who wrote Web articles about those technologies so that the company could ascertain who leaked the information.
The representatives of the sites claimed to be journalists who were protected from disclosing their sources and claimed the benefits of California's "shield law," which prevents journalists from being found in contempt for not revealing sources. (Even true journalists can't receive protection from identifying sources who have broken the law.) Apple argued that the acquisition and distribution of trade secrets is a violation of California state law and that the federal journalist-protection privilege and California "shield law" therefore don't apply. The court agreed.
The judge also admitted that this ruling will test the boundaries of free speech. "Free speech ... is rife with complexities and restrictions," the order reads. However, the ruling wasn't about general free speech concerns, the judge noted, but rather about discovery. In other words, under California law, Apple's desire to discover information about the illegal distribution of trade secrets is within the company's rights. "This state \[has a\] strong commitment to the protection of proprietary business information," the ruling notes.
The ruling also tossed aside the defendants' free speech arguments as "a recitation of the obvious," noting that the primary purpose of the First Amendment to the US Constitution, which (among other things) grants "the freedom of the press," is to prevent powerful institutions such as the government from halting the distribution of news before it's published. News, in general, is considered to be information that is "in the public good." But in this case, trade secrets were published, and the defendants "did not present a persuasive reason of 'public good' and never answered the Court's inquiry as to why there was a true public benefit from disclosure."
As the ruling further states, "Reporters and their sources do not have a license to violate criminal laws. The claim of 'privilege' is overstated in this context." Noting that the definition of what constitutes a journalist is murky in the online age, the judge demurred on the defendants' journalist status: "The journalist's privilege is not absolute. Journalists cannot disclose information when it relates to a crime."
Finally, the ruling left some unanswered questions. "The Court makes no finding as to the ultimate merits of Apple's claims, or any defenses to those claims," the ruling reads. "Those issues remain for another day." The judge also refused to address whether Web site writers, or bloggers, are journalists because the defendants' claims would have been rejected even if they were journalists.
As I noted Friday in WinInfo Daily UPDATE Short Takes, Apple might have been better served by taking a more personal approach and reaching out to the offending sites. These overzealous Apple fans surely would have jumped at the chance to have a closer relationship with the company, even at the expense of being able to publish secret information early. Both Apple and its fan sites would benefit from such a relationship. The sites would get what they want (i.e., a real relationship with Apple), as would Apple (i.e., a reduction in the distribution of trade secrets). Instead, Apple, although legally correct, is taking an unpopular step at a time when public perception of the company is key to its continued success. Let's hope that this case doesn't backfire on the Mac maker.

==== Events and Resources ====

(A complete Web and live events directory brought to you by Windows IT Pro: )

Plan For or Prevent Exchange Messaging Disasters

In this free Web seminar, join Exchange MVP Paul Robichaux as he describes some operational scenarios in which "disaster recovery" takes a back seat to "business continuance." Learn how to be prepared for events that might otherwise wipe out your messaging capability and how you can survive them with your messaging and job intact.

==== Announcement ====

(from Windows IT Pro and its partners)

Get Windows IT Pro at 44 Percent Off!

Windows & .NET Magazine is now Windows IT Pro! Act now to get an entire year for just $39.95--that's 44 percent off the cover price! Our March issue shows you what you need to know about Windows Server 2003 SP1, how to get the best out of your IT staff, and how to fight spyware. Plus, we review the top 10 features of Mozilla Firefox 1.0. This is a limited-time, risk-free offer, so click here now:

==== Contact Us ====

About the newsletter -- [email protected]
About technical questions --
About product news -- [email protected]
About your subscription -- [email protected]
About sponsoring UPDATE -- [email protected]


This email newsletter is brought to you by Windows IT Pro, the leading publication for IT professionals deploying Windows and related technologies. Subscribe today!

Manage Your Account

You are subscribed as %%$email%%

You are receiving this email message because you subscribed to this newsletter on our Web site. To unsubscribe, click the unsubscribe link:


View the Windows IT Pro privacy policy at

Windows IT Pro is a division of Penton Media Inc.
221 East 29th Street, Loveland, CO 80538
Attention: Customer Service Department

Copyright 2005, Penton Media Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.