(Actual e-mail from Gizmodo’s Brian Lam via a public affidavit. Please note we don’t actually know the context of this e-mail, particularly what communications from Apple preceded it or followed it.)
From: brian lam <email@example.com>
Date: April 19, 2010 04:08:07 PM PDT
To: Steve Jobs <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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.