Why did an ex-Apple exec accused of betrayal say he was snooped on?
Axios has, as usual, a very matter-of-fact summation of this story.
The Register uses the word "iGiant" far more than anyone or anything should ever use the word "iGiant". But, for some reason, also posted Apple's filing in a redacted form. Not by Apple. Not by the courts. But it appears to be by The Register itself. Without anything by way of any explanation, at least that I can find. Which is flabbergasting.
It's Bloomberg report, though, titled "Ex-Apple Executive Accused of Betrayal Says He Was Snooped On", that raises so many questions about the story.
People leave (and come back to) Apple all the time. I'm not aware of Apple suing any of them before. Not Chris Lattner, who created Swift then high-tailed it to Tesla. Not Jony Ive who just left to spread his own design love. Not Bertrand Serlet who handed off software engineering then went into stealth mode for UpThere... for a while. Not any of dozens of other executives who went to other companies or started their own companies. None of the. So, why is Apple suing Williams?
Williams drove the A-series chipsets. He was privy to everything Apple was working on for the next many years. He knows exactly whether Apple is making ARM chips for Macs, for servers, or for a new series of talking bear toys.
If he has a genius idea for more chips, his job at Apple means that idea belongs to Apple. So, could he think up, say, the A15 processor as a side hustle, leave, and then try to sell it back to Apple just because he believes that's a way to get more for it than his existing salary? Could he do that with a currently in development but not in market server chip? Legally? Ethically?
What does privacy mean in this context? Did someone Williams was trying to poach go show the texts to management? Was he dumb enough to text his master plan over an enterprise-owned device on an Apple number, subject to data retention policies, completely, legally owned and managed by Apple?
Or is Williams he smart enough to get his own burner device, install Signal, and use that, and is now actually accusing Apple of somehow hacking into his personal property and accounts?
Those all have very different expectations of privacy attached. Which is why none of this makes a lick of sense to me. Not yet. Probably because most of the early coverage reads very much like Williams' people shopped the story around and very few dug into it very deeply before rushing to hit the publish button.
Apple may well be in the wrong here or Williams may really have done Apple dirty.
I don't know. All I know is that I'm reading a ton of speculation without foundation and logical fallacies that seek to scare people about privacy rather than inform them about a lawsuit.
The court date is set for January 21. Until then, I hope some intrepid reported does what intrepid reporters are supposed to do — follow the money.
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Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.