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Steve Jobs is not amused
Gawker Media paid $5,000 for stolen iPhone

The iPhone 4G (or HD if you prefer) saga appears to be winding down. The story started over the weekend when Engadget gained access to pictures of what appears to be a prototype for the next generation iPhone. Gizmodo one-upped Engadget by actually gaining access to the actual phone.

To get the iPhone, Gawker Media -- parent of Gizmodo -- paid $5,000 to the person that found the iPhone at a bar. While Gizmodo kept the name of this person secret, it had no trouble outing the actual Apple employee who lost the phone. The employee is a 2006 graduate of NC State University and works at Apple as a BaseBand Software Engineer according to his Linkedin profile (which has since been taken down).

Now that the cat is out of the bag, Apple wants its iPhone back. Gizmodo's Brian Lam received a letter this morning from Bruce Sewell, an Apple Senior Vice President and General Counsel. The letter confirms that the iPhone in question is in fact from Apple (and not a counterfeit) and goes on to state, "This letter constitutes a formal request that you return the device to Apple. Please let me know where to pick up the unit."

Lam wrote back in a joking fashion, and even asked Apple go easy on the person that lost the phone:

Happy to have you pick this thing up. Was burning a hole in our pockets. Just so you know, we didn't know this was stolen when we bought it. Now that we definitely know it's not some knockoff, and it really is Apple's, I'm happy to see it returned to its rightful owner.

P.S. I hope you take it easy on the kid who lost it. I don't think he loves anything more than Apple.

Whether Apple will take Lam's advice and go easy on the guy remains to be seen. However, given that Steve Jobs once threw a tantrum over a newspaper exec tweeting from a prototype iPad before its release, it's doubtful that Steve will show mercy.



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RE: money back
By gralex on 4/20/2010 10:20:40 AM , Rating: 2
Fair enough... but you never told us why DT thinks it was "lost"


RE: money back
By gralex on 4/20/2010 10:26:44 AM , Rating: 2
i.e. stolen


RE: money back
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 4/20/2010 10:27:38 AM , Rating: 2
Lam's letter said he didn't know it was originally stolen. Thats why "lost" was in quotes -- something smells fishy, that's for sure.

Gruber goes more in depth into the whole lost vs stolen thing over at Daring Fireball


RE: money back
By gralex on 4/20/2010 10:46:06 AM , Rating: 4
But that's just lawyerspeak.

To us common folk "stolen" would mean the Apple guy was pickpocketed:)


RE: money back
By walk2k on 4/20/10, Rating: 0
RE: money back
By Alexstarfire on 4/20/2010 2:33:51 PM , Rating: 3
Don't know about your state, but in Georgia at least if you find an item and turn it in if no ones claims it in 6 months it's legally yours. There are actually a lot of strange laws like that here. For instance, if you live on someone's property for something like 10 years and they haven't lived there then it's yours. I don't believe that applies to things like leases/contracts/etc though. More like if you lived in an abandoned house for that long then you legally own it.


RE: money back
By mcnabney on 4/20/2010 11:18:04 PM , Rating: 3
What you are describing is called "Adverse Possession" and some form of it exists in every state. One has to Openly and Notoriously occupy and use the property without notification of tresspass or agreements for a pretty long time.
It is actually good law and has served to deter absentee landowning. Land needs to be put to use. Either use it or at least be aware of what is happening on it.


RE: money back
By Sazar on 4/20/2010 2:17:42 PM , Rating: 2
Gizmodo lost a lot of points in my book for the bush league way they have handled this entire scenario.

I can appreciate them looking to break the story on the phone, but beyond the initial posting, all the stuff posted about the employee and everything else seems very 4chan.

Even their condescending response back to Apple's counsel smacks of tongue-in-cheek.


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