For a number of weeks, we have observed the drama unfold over Gizmodo’s buying a prototype iPhone and sharing details about it before its public release.
My take: Gizmodo has, at a minimum, acted unethically and may have acted illegally.
Apple goes to extraordinary lengths to protect its intellectual property. Gizmodo knows this.
Apple, like all high-tech consumer product companies, needs to manage the transition from one generation of product to another with great care. High tech companies do not want delay current customer purchases due to confirmed features about next-generation products. Not only does this undermine the sale of current product inventories, but, it delays revenue.
What should Gizmodo have done?
Immediately return the iPhone to Apple with no investigative work on its own. That’s would have been the “right thing to do.” It would have been taking the “high road,” not the “low road.” And, it would have shown Gizmodo respects it’s role in the industry, not made Gizmodo look like tabloid paparazzi.
If you find $10,000 of cash in a paper bag in a public place, you don’t keep it–you make every effort to try to reunite the money with the rightful owner. That’s what Gizmodo should have done.
For Gizmodo’s reprehensible actions in this matter, I hereby enter Gizmodo in Gardner & Associates Consulting’s “Business Execution Hall of Shame.”
Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com