Brian Lam’s an a-hole, Part Deux: His email to Steve Jobs

Fri, May 14, 2010

Legal, News

In our first installment, we called Gizmodo’s Brian Lam a dick for this snarky email he shot out to Apple’s legal counsel regarding the stolen/missing iPhone and Gray Powell:

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 except, well, beer. Maybe some spankings.

Douchey, right?

Well Lam put that obnoxious email to shame with this baby. Shortly after photos and video of Apple’s next-gen iPhone appeared on Gimzodo’s website, Steve Jobs called Lam to ask for the phone back. Lam promptly fired off the following email to Apple.

From: brian lam <>
Date: April 19, 2010 04:08:07 PM PDT
To: Steve Jobs <>
Subject: Let’s see if this goes through.

Hey Steve, this email chain is off record on my side.

I understand the position you’re in, and I want to help, but it conflicts with my own responsibilities to give the phone back without any confirmation that its real, from apple, officially.

Something like that — from you or apple legal — is a big story, that would make up for giving the phone back right away. If the phone disappears without a story to explain why it went away, and the proof it went to apple, it hurts our business. And our reputation. People will say this is a coordinated leak, etc.

I get that it would hurt sales to say this is the next iphone. I have no interest in hurting sales. That does nothing to help Gizmodo or me.

Maybe Apple can say it’s a lost phone, but not one that you’ve confirmed for production — that it is merely a test unit of sorts. Otherwise, it just falls to apple legal, which serves the same purpose of confirmation. I don’t want that either.

Gizmodo lives and dies like many small companies do. We don’t have access, or when we do, we get it taken away. When we get a chance to break a story, we have to go with it, or we perish. I know you like walt and pogue, and like working with them, but I think Gizmodo has more in common with old Apple than those guys do. So I hope you understand where I’m coming from.

Right now, we have nothing to lose. The thing is, Apple PR has been cold to us lately. It affected my ability to do my job right at iPad launch. So we had to go outside and find our stories like this one, very aggressively.

I want to get this phone back to you ASAP. And I want to not hurt your sales when the products themselves deserve love. But I have to get this story of the missing prototype out, and how it was returned to apple, with some acknowledgement it is Apple’s.

And I want to work closer with Apple, too. I’m not asking for more access — we can do our jobs with or without it — but again, this is the only way we can survive while being cut out of things. That’s my position on things.



There are so many wrongs with this it’s hard to know where to begin. But first and foremost, what a bunch of horseshit, and Lam is lying through his teeth, when he says that they need to be sure that the device really belongs to Apple, as if that was ever in doubt. Second, Lam essentially knows that the device belongs to Apple, but refuses to hand it over unless they get a letter from Apple so that they can post it on their site and generate even more pageviews.

And how snarky can Lam be, trying to work “closer with Apple” while at the same time holding the iPhone for ransom. And then there’s Lam trying to blame Apple PR and how Apple’s policies affected Lam’s ability to do his job right during the iPad launch. What the hell is this fool talking about?


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1 Comments For This Post

  1. John Says:

    Yeesh. Well, I think the article was just super. Lam’s email to Jobs was pretty reprehensible, after all.

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