Tuesday, April 15, 2014

BlackBerry puts the squeeze on leakers

BlackBerry’s new boss has warned that he will do anything to stop leaks of its products, including pressing criminal charges.
John Chen, who took over the beleaguered company in November, has threatened both leakers and the media with criminal proceedings if they report on any “critical and confidential project” until BlackBerry is ready to discuss it.

He described the leaks as both “distracting” and “misleading”. He said that it harmed stakeholders’ ability to properly understand what the company was doing as said that they are “seldom advantageous” for business.

“I recognise that, in some cases, the leaks reflect people’s genuine interest in BlackBerry,” Chen wrote in a post via BlackBerry’s official blog.

"There are a lot of people whose enthusiasm for our company and our products makes them want to know what we will do next — and that can be a tremendous asset for us as a brand.

“But, when curiosity turns to criminality, we must take strong action.”

He said that BlackBerry will now “take appropriate actions to prevent leaks from happening”. According to Chen, the company is already pursuing legal action against an individual for leaking information.

Chen admitted the company’s new approach would probably leak to fewer “blog posts with photos and rumours of the next BlackBerry smartphones”.

It is unlikely that Chen would have any success in suing publications as he has threatened.

In 1996, the Appellate Court in the United States ruled in a similar case brought by Apple that trade secrets are fair game for journalists – both offline and online – to report on.

In other words, don’t expect the rumour stories to stop flowing anytime soon.

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