FORTUNE -- Apple's (AAPL) rules for dealing with reporters are pretty simple: Say absolutely nothing on the record. And if you have to say something, craft a statement that gives nothing away, then repeat it as often as necessary.
So you know something is afoot when the company allows the Wall Street Journal -- whose reporters cover Apple like a blanket and are not always so warm -- to interview Greg Christie, one of the small team of engineers that developed the original iPhone.
What's afoot, of course, is the second Samsung patent infringement trial, scheduled to begin next Monday in a San Jose, Calif., U.S. District Court. At the end of the first trial, a jury awarded Apple more than a $1 billion in damages, an award that was later whittled down to $930 million. The second trial -- over a new set of Samsung devices that sold in even larger quantities -- could result in even bigger damages.
Christie's name appears on U.S. Patent No. 8,046,721 -- "slide to unlock" -- one of five Apple patents at issue in the new trial. Apple claims Samsung willfully copied a key iPhone innovation; Samsung argues that there was nothing innovative about it.
To counter that argument -- and perhaps influence both the Journal's coverage and the public's perception -- Apple permitted Christie to talk to the paper about the pressure he was under to get the design right. Daisuke Wakabayashi's account in the Journal begins with Steve Jobs putting the heat on Christie as only Steve Jobs could do:
In February 2005, Apple's then chief executive, Steve Jobs, gave senior software engineer Greg Christie an ultimatum.
Mr. Christie's team had been struggling for months to lay out the software vision for what would become the iPhone as well as how the parts would work together. Now, Mr. Jobs said the team had two weeks or he would assign the project to another group.
"Steve had pretty much had it," said Mr. Christie, who still heads Apple's user-interface team. "He wanted bigger ideas and bigger concepts."
Interviews with key engineers deep in Apple's trenches are rare indeed. Wakabayashi report is worth a read.
But his definition of a growth company is not exactly canonical.
FORTUNE -- A growth company, according to Investopedia, is defined as follows:
Any firm whose business generates significant positive cash flows or earnings, which increase at significantly faster rates than the overall economy. A growth company tends to have very profitable reinvestment opportunities for its own retained earnings. Thus, it typically pays little to no dividends to stockholders, opting instead to MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Feb 8, 2014 6:40 AM ET
News Corp's Wall Street Journal calls for Judge Denise Cote to be taken off the case.
FORTUNE -- Most of arguments the Wall Street Journal made Friday in a strident editorial calling for the ouster of the judge in the e-book antitrust case were taken from a motion Apple (AAPL) filed last week. (See Apple to judge: You and your antitrust monitor are way out of line.)
But there was also a nugget MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Dec 6, 2013 8:12 AM ET
Cites a single unnamed source "familiar with the situation."
FORTUNE -- Is this the news Apple (AAPL) investors have been waiting so many years to hear?
WSJ: Apple, China Mobile Sign Deal to Offer iPhone
Without an official announcement or independent verification it's hard to say. The fact that it comes from the Wall Street Journal speaks well for the report. The fact that it hangs on a single, unnamed source... not so MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Dec 4, 2013 9:45 PM ET
It's a good time to be in TV. But what about newspapers? It's complicated.
By Matt Vella, senior editor
FORTUNE -- James Murdoch, son of mogul Rupert Murdoch and deputy chief operating officer of the newly formed 21st Century Fox, is not afraid of his mistakes. Speaking at a dinner on the first night of this year's Brainstorm Tech conference, Murdoch seemed, if anything, more afraid of not taking enough missteps. MOREJul 23, 2013 12:01 AM ET
Tea Party Senators and a conservative newspaper came -- briefly -- to Apple's defense.
FORTUNE -- Steve Jobs wasn't given to making political statements, but he did send signals: He dated Joan Baez, he toasted Barack Obama and, according to Walter Isaacson's biography, he chewed out Rupert Murdoch privately for letting Fox News become "an incredibly destructive force in our society."
But when Tim Cook testified before a Senate subcommittee about Apple's MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - May 31, 2013 7:51 AM ET
Note to editor: Not all patents are the same.
FORTUNE -- Under the headline Samsung-Apple Patent Fight: Is It Worth It?, Wednesday's Wall Street Journal takes a long look at three years of smartphone litigation and concludes that the answer is no.
"A string of rulings in big cases has left litigants with little to show for all the trouble," writes the Journal's Ashby Jones in the "nut" paragraph that states the MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - May 8, 2013 7:45 AM ET
Buy the news, sell the rumor.
FORTUNE -- Tuesday was another strange one for Apple's (AAPL) beleagued shares.
With the caveat that it's always dangerous to attribute reason to something as irrational as the stock market, this is how it looked to me:
The stock opened strong -- despite a wishy-washy Goldman Sachs note and a bizarre Jim Cramer rant -- on news that Tim Cook's apology to China seemed to have done MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Apr 2, 2013 4:43 PM ET
And that still leaves most of Samsung's estimated $4 billion ad budget unaccounted for
FORTUNE -- The Wall Street Journal's report Tuesday that Samsung outspent Apple (AAPL) in U.S. smartphone advertising caught some readers by surprise.
The surprise for those who've been followed Horace Dediu's work on Asmyco is that Samsung spent only $401 million promoting its smartphones in the U.S. last year. According to his estimate, that leaves unaccounted for nearly $3.6 MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Mar 13, 2013 12:43 PM ET
Once again, the Journal has stoked the fires of Apple TV set speculation
FORTUNE -- It's almost exactly a year since the Wall Street Journal sent shivers of anticipatory glee through the Apple (AAPL) investment community with a report on the company's "assault" on the TV business.
That story, based on leaks from media executives who had asked Apple to brief them on its plans, suggested that Cupertino was pursuing two paths: MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Dec 12, 2012 7:51 AM ET
|GM's recalled Cobalt was a failure from the start|
|Pope Francis challenges the free market - The Buzz|
|Why you should pay off your car loan ASAP|
|Americans have fallen in love with real estate once again|
|Detroit pension cuts hit civilian workers hardest|