When Gizmodo ran photos of Apple’s iPhone 4 months before Apple even officially acknowledged it existed, the blogosphere exploded with excitement. How did Gizmodo get their hands on an unreleased product from a company that prides itself on secrecy? In short, the Gizmodo scoop was nothing short of astounding.
But when details leaked explaining how Gizmodo came to find itself in possession of a pre-release iPhone 4, that excitement quickly turned into indignation, and for some, anger.
If you recall, an Apple employee accidentally left his iPhone 4 (which he was testing) at a California bar where it was subsequently discovered by a 21 year old named Brian Hogan who upon determining that it was something of value began shopping it around to the highest bidder.
After Engadget refused to get its hands dirty, Gizmodo stepped up to the plate and offered Hogan $10,000 for what they reasonably knew was stolen or misappropriated property. While Apple eventually retrieved the device, the damage had been done. Gizmodo’s scoop netted the website millions of hits and invaluable amounts publicity.
Following that ordeal, California authorities busted into the home of Gizmodo editor Jason Chen and confiscated a number of his electronic devices.
Now, Gizmodo and Jason Chen have both been cleared of any illegal conduct with respect to the entire iPhone 4 saga.
The San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office issued a press release which reads:
The San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office has filed misdemeanor charges against two individuals for the misappropriation of an iPhone 4 prototype that was lost by an Apple employee and subsequently recovered in a Redwood City establishment by the defendants on March 25, 2010. Brian Hogan, 22, of Redwood City was charged with one count of misappropriation of lost property, and Sage Wallower, 28, of Emeryville, was charged with misappropriation of lost property, and possession of stolen property. Their arraignment is scheduled for Thursday, August 25, 2011 at 9:00 in Redwood City. After a consideration of all of the evidence, it was determined that no charges would be filed against employees of Gizmodo.
So Gizmodo and co. are off the hook while Hogan is charged with misappropriation while Sage Wallower was hit with the same along with possession of stolen property. Wallower is a UC Berkley student who was reportedly the intermediary Hogan used to shop the stolen iPhone 4 around to various tech sites.