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Apple settles with Tiger leaker

Company has reached settlement with 22-year-old it sued for online distribution of its unreleased Mac OS X Tiger operating system.

Apple Computer has reached a settlement with one of the men it sued for online distribution of its unreleased Mac OS X Tiger operating system.

Apple said on Wednesday that it has reached a settlement with 22-year-old Doug Steigerwald. It did not discuss the details of that settlement, though it does involve money being paid to Apple, according to Steigerwald. The company still has legal action pending against two other men in the case, which was filed in December in federal court in San Jose, Calif.

"While Apple will always protect its innovations, it is not our desire to send students to jail," Apple said in a statement to CNET "We are pleased that Mr. Steigerwald has taken responsibility for his actions and that we can put this lawsuit behind us."

Steigerwald is actually not a student, but a recent graduate of North Carolina State University who is currently looking for a job. Reading from a prepared statement, Steigerwald said that a criminal investigation had been launched against him as well. In the statement, Steigerwald said that the allegations made by Apple were true and apologized for his actions.

"As a member of Apple's Developer Connection program I received a pre-release version of Apple's Mac OS X 10.4 'Tiger' software, which I promised to keep confidential," he said. "Instead, I disseminated it over the Internet, and thousands of unauthorized copies of Apple's software were illegally distributed to the public."

The wording of his statement was an agreed-upon part of the settlement with Apple, according to Joe Cheshire, an attorney with Cheshire Parker in Raleigh, N.C., and Steigerwald's lawyer. As for the criminal case, Cheshire said, "We are in discussions with the U.S. attorney's office and I believe we will satisfactorily work his case out."

In the suit, Apple has been seeking an injunction to prevent further releases of its software, as well as unspecified monetary damages.

Apple has shown off Tiger but has not yet shipped the operating system, which is slated to go on sale sometime in the first half of the year. Several test versions have been available to developers on the condition that the software be kept confidential.

"Members of (the) Apple Developer Connection receive advance copies of Apple software under strict confidentiality agreements, which we take very seriously to protect our intellectual property," Apple said in a December statement.