When Gizmodo editor Brian Lam emailed Steve Jobs about the missing iPhone 4G

Steve Jobs himself called Gizmodo editor to ask for the iPhone 4G back. Brian Lam soon emailed Jobs saying that they would do so only if Apple made a formal request.

Earlier this afternoon, San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Clifford V. Cretan ordered the affidavit used to trigger the search warrant on Gizmodo blogger Jason Chen's home to be unsealed. The motion was initially filed last week by a number of media organizations including the Los Angeles Times and the AP.

The affidavit doesn't really tell us anything that we didn't already know (such as the identities of the parties), but it does confirm that Steve Jobs himself called Gizmodo editorial director Brian Lam to personally request that Gizmodo return the iPhone to Apple.

(Buzzblog: Gizmodo to Jobs: "You can trust us, Steve, honestly")

Lam subsequently responded to Jobs via an email where he flat out stated that Gizmodo wouldn't return the phone unless Apple sent them something official that they could plaster up on their website. The entire email is pasted below, and while you can draw your own conclusions from Lam's points, it sounds a lot like extortion to me. 

"Hey Steve, this email chain is off the 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 waltand 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, 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 the 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 out of things. That's my position on things.


You can check out all of the pertinent documents below. There's some interesting stuff in there, such as Brian Hogan's response to his friends who asked him not to sell the iPhone on account that it might ruin Gray Powell's career. "Sucks for him," Hogan retorted. "He lost his phone. Shouldn't have lost his phone."



Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

The 10 most powerful companies in enterprise networking 2022