Apple has become increasingly hostile to independent journalism since CEO Steve Jobs took over, according to web publishing guru Dan Gillmor. However, many of Gillmor's readers have taken a different line in response to the latest ruling on the Apple vs. bloggers case.

Blogging about the verdict , Gillmor describes Mr Jobs as "a control freak who doesn't seem to care at all that he's infuriating some natural allies".

"Reporting on business, if this bad ruling is upheld on appeal, will be a great deal harder in the future," writes Gillmor.

"Companies will simply slap 'trade secret' protection on everything they do, and any reporter who gets a scoop on anything the company doesn't want the public to know about will be under a legal threat."

His post triggered a huge response from his readers, most of whom supported Apple.

'~bc' writes that Gillmor's position is understandable because his career is now centred on the convergence of blogs and journalism, and so he defends bloggers as legitimate news reporters. But he is wrong, says '~bc', to begin tying his wagon to criminals whose reporting is only benefiting Apple's competitors and not doing anything for the public good.

"Dan is thus indirectly representing that theft of proprietary information is good journalism. That is going to do more harm in portraying bloggers as thieves and hacks than it's going to help good, legitimate news-reporting bloggers like Dan himself."

'Stuart Logan' said that PowerPage, one of the blogs involved in the case, was only interested in using the leaked information to drive traffic to its site. 'David' added that investigative journalism is much more than repeating information given by employees bound by non-disclosure agreements.

Despite such views, Gillmor seems to have inspired a potential boycott of Mac products by announcing that he might avoid its products in the future.

'Joe I' picks up the idea: "I would urge all bloggers to boycott Apple. Put away your Macs and put off purchases. Apple, although not dominant like Microsoft, is and has been, much more arrogant with its users and business practices. It is their way or the highway.

"If bloggers feel strongly why use the platform from a corporation that might do your work the most harm?"

More news from dotJournalism:
Mac bloggers forced to reveal sources
Citizens' journo rights in jeopardy
'Yes' to bloggers' rights
Apple to sue Mac blogger

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