Apple has long been a company that takes a hard line against people who leak information to the press and now it’s suing one person for doing exactly that. Former product design chief Simon Lancaster allegedly leaked information to a journalist. And Apple is now going after him in a big way.
First spotted by AppleInsider, new court documents suggest that Lancaster leaked the information in the hopes of getting publicity for the company he was moving to after leaving Apple.
The Verge also received a statement from Apple, saying that it takes the theft of trade secrets seriously.
“Tens of thousands of Apple employees work tirelessly every day on new products, services and features in the hopes of delighting our customers and empowering them to change the world. Stealing ideas and confidential information undermines their efforts, hurting Apple and our customers,” commented Apple in a statement to The Verge. “We take very seriously this individual’s deliberate theft of our trade secrets, violation of our ethics and our policies, all for personal gain. We will do all we can to protect the innovations we hold so dear.”
Apple’s lawsuit alleges that Lancaster began discussions with an unnamed journalist in 2018, with things kicking up a gear in 2019. Ultimately, Lancaster wanted press for the startup he was going to head to after leaving Apple.
(Images of Apple products Lancaster was involved in developing, as per his Linkedin profile)
In October 2019, Lancaster reportedly notified his correspondent that he was planning to leave Apple, giving over secret information on Apple products and asking if they wanted “to write a story about a 12-year Apple Design Veteran leaving for an amazing startup?” The correspondent also allegedly asked Lancaster to get additional information on an unannounced project that Apple refers to as “Project X.”
The full AppleInsider report is worth a read with tons more information from the lawsuit. We don’t know who the journalist involved in this story was, but it doesn’t take a huge amount of imagination to come up with a couple of names. We’ll leave the legwork to you, though.
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