By Chand Bellur
February 23, 2020 at 9:50 p.m. PDT
- Former App Store manager Tom Sadowski penned a tell-all book about Apple.
- Apple issued a cease and desist letter to the book’s publisher.
- The book, entitled App Store Confidential, is the second most popular title on Amazon’s German market.
Apple Seeks to Block App Store Confidential
Apple is one of the biggest corporations on the planet, however, the Cupertino company is a black box to most outsiders. Former German App Store manager, Tom Sadowski, wishes to elucidate Apple’s App Store process and provide general, publicly available information about the virtual market. Given Apple’s penchant for secrecy, the company is attempting to suppress publication of the book.
The book itself does not divulge any trade secrets about the company, however, it does provide tips to developers. For example, if one creates a fitness app, developing a corresponding watchOS app will boost App Store rankings.
Sadowski adamantly refuses divulging Apple secrets and admires the company:
“I really enjoyed working for Apple … I never had any intention of betraying any secrets or harming Apple, as anyone who has read the book will tell you, but I also believe in the freedom of the press and freedom of speech and that every person and every company is equal before the law, and therefore I resist Apple’s demands.”
Apple demands that the book’s publisher, Murmann Verlag, cease sales of the title immediately. Murmann has ignored the order and Apple has backed down for now. The Cupertino company could potentially issue an injunction order, however, since the book doesn’t reveal trade secrets, free press will likely prevail.
Sadowski Fired or Quit?
Corporate America is full of quirks, employment termination being one of them. For sound legal reasons, corporations are reticent to fire full time exempt employees.
In this case, Apple does have the legal right to terminate Sadowski. Corporations of this nature have non-disclosure agreements to prevent leaks. Although Sadowski claims he didn’t reveal any trade secrets, simply publishing a book about Apple is grounds to terminate an existing employee.
Sadowski himself claims he quit Apple in November, a full month after plans to publish his book were public. Apple may be doing damage control, however, many feel that the book provides a positive view of the company. Much of the book describes Sadowski’s rise to become the head of the German, Austrian and Swiss App Store.
Apple’s desire to suppress App Store Confidential may be motivated by the will to discourage similar projects. If the book is successful, other Apple employees may follow suit, and the company stands to lose talent and possibly trade secrets. Given that over a trillion dollars of valuation is at stake, Apple will likely play it safe and try to suppress the book in other markets.