ThinkSecret smackdown: Steve Jobs' and Apple's Vladimir Putin moment

Well, it's safe to say now that Apple has driven tipster site ThinkSecret out of business, none of you will be sending leads to that site anymore.Background: Apple gets so way beyond touchy when rumors or news of forthcoming products, platforms, policies, etc.

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Well, it's safe to say now that Apple has driven tipster site ThinkSecret out of business, none of you will be sending leads to that site anymore.

Background: Apple gets so way beyond touchy when rumors or news of forthcoming products, platforms, policies, etc., gets leaked to and on the Internet before the company's bright and cheery p.r. staff deems the development worthy of announcement.

And when websites hit home with morsels of news that offend Apple and their controlling CEO Steve Jobs, takedown demands for the offending posts are often delivered. Delivered not from the "would you please" angle of a publicist, but too often via orders from Apple's legal eagles.

ThinkSecret did not have the budget to fight Apple in the legal arena. Because of that, they pretty much had to cave: Apple won't proceed legally if ThinkSecret shuts down. And today, damn it, TS did.

While Apple has every right to protect its trade secrets, this behavior has always struck me as ham-handed. I have covered and worked at other companies that were expert at harnessing pre-release buzz into at-release mania.

But no. This manipulation of the press- dead-tree as well as Silicon-based, is informed by a tone set by Apple CEO Steve Jobs. His actions indicate an attitude that the press is there to do our bidding, but must be suppressed when they leak.

As a member of the media, I am deeply offended. In terms of using power to force the closure of media who won't play ball with your every whim, this behavior reminds me less of other technology companies and more like that of another administration, whose chief authority was honored this week.

That'd be Russia's autocratic, paranoid CEO Vladimir Putin. TIME Magazine's Person of the Year.

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