By Duncan Martell
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Apple Computer Inc. has sued three men for
illegally distributing test copies of the next version of its Mac OS X
operating system on a file-sharing Web site, court records showed on
The lawsuit is the second in as many weeks by the maker of the popular
iPod digital music players and iconic Macintosh personal computers to
thwart the release of its software and details of its unannounced
Apple claims in its suit that two different versions of Mac OS X,
code-named Tiger, were made available on the Web on or about Oct. 30
and Dec. 8 of this year.
The company has said it will ship Mac OS X "Tiger" in the first half
of 2005, after previewing it to the Mac community at a trade show last
Apple makes test versions available to certain software developers
under strict confidentiality conditions and lets them test the
prerelease software and develop or change their own programs to work
with the software.
The company said in its lawsuit that the two different versions were
made publicly available by the men, who were members of the Apple
"Members of Apple Developer Connection receive advance copies of Apple
software under strict confidentiality agreements, which we take very
seriously to protect our intellectual property," the company said in a
According to the suit, the men released the software on a Web site
that employs BitTorrent file-sharing technology, which is used to
rapidly distribute large files of electronic data, and is also widely
used to distribute pirated copies of motion pictures via the Internet.
"Apple's future operating results and financial condition are
substantially dependent on its ability to continue to develop
improvements to the Mac OS and related software applications in order
to maintain perceived design and functional advantages over competing
platforms," the company said in its civil complaint, filed on Monday
in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, San
Apple's Macintosh computers and Mac operating system compete
principally with personal computers using Microsoft Corp.'s dominant
Windows operating system. Apple currently has a less than 5 percent
share of the overall PC market.
On Dec. 13 Apple, based in Cupertino, California, filed a lawsuit
against unnamed individuals who leaked details about new products by
posting information on the Internet.
The lawsuits come weeks ahead of the Macworld conference in San
Francisco, the annual show where Chief Executive Steve Jobs typically
unveils the latest Apple products in front of thousands of the Mac
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