MacBook Breaking Bad Sticker

Known for publishing previously confidential documents, WikiLeaks has released a large collection of emails from last year’s widely publicized hack of Sony, notably including Apple agreements covering Sony’s Crackle Apple TV channel, video sales through iTunes, and other topics. The leaks include:

  • The terms of Apple’s agreement to add Sony’s Crackle video service to the Apple TV, notably including a 3-year term (starting December 11, 2013), Sony’s retention of 100% of advertising revenue, and a promise that Apple will permit new types of overlaid/display ads on Crackle if it becomes technically feasible and Apple OKs it. Few details were previously known about the business terms between Apple and channel providers for the Apple TV.
  • Apple’s agreements to distribute Sony videos through the iTunes Store, including the original 2007 agreement between the companies covering TV shows such as Charlie’s Angels and Who’s The Boss, term extensions and high-definition amendments, and the addition of iTunes in the Cloud (which Apple originally called “Virtual Storage Locker”).
  • Sales forecasts for Sony games sold in the App Store, as well as charts suggesting that Sony’s iPhone and iPad game revenues far surpassed the amounts made on competing platforms.

The leaks go on to describe Apple and Sony product tie-ups, including the iPad’s “character” role in the film Sex Tape, as well as Sony’s internal reaction to Apple’s “Stickers” ad featuring a Breaking Bad reference, and an apparent effort by Dreamworks’ Jeffrey Katzenberg urging Sony not to collaborate with Apple…

  • An email exchange includes a list of roughly two dozen Apple product references in the script for the movie Sex Tape, which Sony executives briefly consider rewriting to use Sony products instead, as “normally this is a big problem.” But since the movie’s producers “feel the iPad/Apple is more of a character in the film,” Sony’s executives okay the references.
  • Concerned emails between Sony executives when Apple ran its MacBook Air sticker advertisement, including the image of Breaking Bad‘s Walter White/Heisenberg, though Apple had requested and apparently received approval.
  • An email from Dreamworks’ Jeffrey Katzenberg, who was then attempting to buy music video site Vevo, urging Sony not to “let someone like Apple build yet another asset on the back of your content.”

The leak also includes many less consequential emails, such as then-Sony Pictures Entertainment Chairperson Amy Pascal’s purchase of Apple EarPods from Amazon, as well as communications suggesting that Sony knew it was being hacked. Yesterday, a separate WikiLeaks post from the Sony archives revealed that former Apple Senior VP Scott Forstall was serving as an advisor to Snapchat; today, Forstall unexpectedly surfaced in public as a Broadway producer.

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