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The Best Angle

April 30th, 2010

Brian-HoganThe finder of the prototype iPhone has been identified as one Brian Hogan of Redwood City, and he’s taking about the best tack he can on the story: that he did not “sell” the iPhone to Gizmodo, but instead accepted money for giving Gizmodo “exclusive access to review the phone.” As to whether that’ll save his bacon is the question; he still pocketed five grand for something that wasn’t his instead of handing it over to the police as the law requires. And even though he claims that he did not sell the iPhone but instead sold the rights to an exclusive review, such a review was still not something that was his right to sell.

At the end of the day, he held on to something that wasn’t his, actively shopped it around to tech publishers, and then sold it for cash. It’s kind of hard to put a very good spin on that. His attorney is pushing the storyline that Gizmodo assured him that there was “nothing wrong in sharing the phone with the tech press,” but that shouldn’t really afford him too much cover. It falls under the “ignorance of the law” rule, which we have to follow or everyone could say that they were assured there was nothing wrong with committing a crime.

I mean, think of it–what if the president of the United States wanted to violate the Constitution, and all he had to do to clear himself was to get a lawyer to go on record as assuring him that it was OK?

Oh, wait.

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  1. Troy
    April 30th, 2010 at 10:58 | #1

    Dumbass coulda just taken it to the reception desk at 1 Infinite Loop and the company would probably have given him a MBP for his trouble.

    Though I do think Apple’s scorched-earth campaign against the press is horribly short-sighted.

    This leak thing was actually pretty good publicity for tech people looking at future purchases — I don’t really see any downside from this premature leak.

    Now they’ve got at least one major web network and probably more that will be slagging on Apple for the rest of all time.

    I don’t know how much of this is just astroturfing, but I do get a sense that there’s a rising backlash against all things Apple brewing. A lot of tech weenies want Google to succeed over iPhone, and there’s the typical Microsoft force waiting for the new Windows phone to pull them out of the WinMo slump.

    Apple really hasn’t made any good friends over the past few years.

  2. Luis
    April 30th, 2010 at 12:23 | #2

    Well, actually, had he been honest, he’d either have turned it over to the bar manager or given the manager his contact info. Either way, the engineer would have gotten the phone back that night and likely would have tried to keep it quiet from Apple–no goodies for the finder.

    Had Hogan wanted to angle for some free merchandise, he would have at least had to bring it home first, and then taken it back to Apple in some way that was more than casual. Walking up to the reception counter and handing it in probably would not have done the trick–likely a receptionist would have just accepted it with thanks and nothing more. Instead, the best way would have probably been to call an Apple manager or exec–probably not too hard to get a hold of someone at that level–and explain how he’d been too drunk at the time to do the right thing at the bar, and wanted to return it the next day but it had been remote-wiped, and hey, I just figured out that this is a next-gen prototype. Very likely the Apple exec would then want to treat this guy like royalty so as to encourage him not to spread around (a) what the phone looks like and (b) that Apple lost a prototype that way. Because, let’s face it, selling it is wrong, but there would have been nothing at all wrong (legally) with him photographing the heck out of it and then posting it on his blog.

    Maybe even better, he could have emailed Steve Jobs directly. That would get him the MBP, I betcha. Jobs likes to make classy gestures that way.

  3. Troy
    April 30th, 2010 at 13:11 | #3


    Clearly him taking the phone from the bar was theft, especially as he didn’t try to contact the dude via fb.

    So yeah, I forgot that he already screwed up before he learned that it was not a regular 3G phone.

    But I worked at Apple 2000-2002 so I know of what I speak. You tell the reception people that you’ve found a prototype iPhone in a bar and a guarantee you they’re all on the ball enough to get it sorted for you real quick.

  4. Luis
    April 30th, 2010 at 14:06 | #4

    Really? Then cool, I’ll know what to do! 😀

  5. April 30th, 2010 at 17:34 | #5

    Looks more like a publicity stunt to me. Not a bad one thou

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