Kudos to TheNextWeb for picking up on a story on Reddit today, in which Brian Hogan, the man who found and sold the 2010 Apple [AAPL] iPhone prototype tells us everything we didn't know about what happened when he found the phone in a bar and sold it to Gizmodo.
[ABOVE: The story that transformed Gizmodo into a global brand.]
Hogan was 21-years old when he stumbled upon what seemed to be a lost iPhone 3 in a bar. When he got it home, plugged it into his computer, and turned it on the full (also then unreleased) iOS was visible to him, only to be bricked a few moments later thanks to FindMyiPhone. When he looked more closely at the device he was surprised to find a completely new iPhone disguised inside the case.
While the phone did eventually end up in the hands of Gizmodo he didn't go there first. The first place he tried to contact was Apple, and that's where his tale takes an unfortunate twist:
"The person on the other line didn't know there was a prototype missing," he says. This meant the company didn't talk to him.
Apple's culture of secrecy failed it. It's reasonably safe to assume that if Apple's management structure had been a little more wired to react to such events, then Hogan would eventually have spoken to someone who might have been able to pay a "finder's fee" for the device, Gizmodo would never have made its ads money or seen its reputation sky rocket and Hogan wouldn't have ended up under intense police investigation.
Gifts from Gizmodo
Hogan spoke to a few tech blogs before eventually reaching a deal with Gizmodo.
"Gizmodo told me they would give me $5,000 for the story, and another $3,000 after it was confirmed by Apple to be real. They knew that there was no way in hell I was going to be able to ask for the $3,000 after the story aired, but I didn’t. I ended up having to hire an expensive lawyer and had to pay him much much more than $5,000," he writes.
During the subsequent criminal investigation, Hogan's roommate began feeding the police information, grabbing images of his things and taking notes of conversations.
"She took pictures of my things, wrote down conversations, and flat out lied about certain stuff so the cops could get the most damning case possible," he reveals on Reddit.
Hogan eventually received a $125 fine and a community service order.
Samsung needn't worry
So does he use an iPhone?
"I'm a PC/Android guy now," he writes on Reddit, where he also admits to using a Samsung S3.
"I don't have it [the iPhone], Gizmodo asked to take it with them to examine more and then dissected the thing for proof, and used it stick it to Apple for their own gains. The people at Gizmodo/Gawker media took advantage of me IMO and they can suck it...IMO," he adds.
What would Hogan do if he found a phone in a bar again?
"Give it to the bartender," he says.
Lots more details included within Hogan's Reddit post right here.
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