iPhone Thief Revealed, Jobs Blasts Flash, Courier Killed

Too many stories, not enough brain cells. Here's the big news swirling around the InterWebs this morning, starting with -- of course -- Apple, the iPhone, and Steve Jobs himself.

We finally know the identity of the mystery geek who found the lost iPhone 4G prototype: a 21-year-old named Brian J. Hogan. According to Hogan's attorney, he didn't technically "sell" that Apple prototype to Gizmodo for $5,000; that was the "exclusivity" fee they paid him so that they could get sole rights to find the rightful owner. (I just typed that sentence, and even I can't believe how ridiculous that sounds.) But first Gizmodo wanted a chance to fondle and dismantle it, a process that apparently took three weeks. What in God's name was Jason Chen doing with that thing that took him three weeks? I don't think I want to know.

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The Book of Jobs
What is up with Steve Jobs these days? First came those terse emails to iPhone App developers, all of which can be summed up in two words: Bite me. He followed up with a 1,700-word diatribe in which he eviscerates Adobe Flash. I think that new bionic liver he had installed has done something to his brain.

The Late, Great Slate?
HP buys Palm and the very next day tells Microsoft to take its Windows 7 tablet and stick it where even Steve Ballmer can't sweat all over it -- at least, that's what TechCrunch's Michael Arrington says. Employing his patented AutoRumor and AlwaysRight technology, the Crunchie One is claiming HP put a bullet into the temple of its Windows 7 Slate -- you remember, the one Steve Ballmer demoed at CES last January.

HP has not confirmed or denied this, as far as I can tell. It seems not at all in keeping with that company's M.O. to ditch a longtime partner, even one that screws them over on a semi-regular basis. Build two slates, one with Windows, one with another operating system (Palm's WebOS, Google Android, Google Chrome), maybe. Just kill Windows outright for a competitor? Imagine the phone call from Ballmer. Or you don't have to -- you'd probably be able to hear it from wherever you're sitting. I'm not buying flowers for this funeral just yet.

Shoot the Courier
In more tablet news, Microsoft has officially "killed" Courier, that nifty two-sided tablet that appeared to exist only on the Gizmodo blog, and then only in video animation. Naturally, Gizmodo was the first to report on Courier's demise, but at least they got Microsoft to confirm the project actually existed. Still, doesn't something first have to be alive before it's officially dead?

Back in the old days, publications that reported on products in development but never saw the light of day were accused, and rightly so, of promoting vaporware. Now in the new facts-optional world of blogging, that earns you kudos for two scoops: first that the product is coming, and then that it isn't.

The good news: Nobody from Microsoft broke down anyone's door at Gizmodo to demand they return a copy of that Courier cartoon.

What's on your mind this week? Post your thoughts on any of the above below (that doesn't sound quite right) or email me: cringe@infoworld.com.

This story, "An iPhone thief unmasked, Jobs uncaged, and tablets unraveled," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more of Robert X. Cringely's Notes from the Field blog.

For comprehensive coverage of the Android ecosystem, visit Greenbot.com.

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