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Report: Apple Fires Five For Downloading Leopard OS

Five workers at Apple Computer's retail stores have been fired for downloading preview copies of Mac OS X 10.5, dubbed "Leopard," which the company distributed to developers two weeks ago, an Apple enthusiast Web site reported Tuesday.

According to Think Secret, a site that in the past has been sued by Apple for divulging what the Cupertino, Calif. computer makers claims were trade secrets, the employees were terminated after admitting that they'd downloaded Leopard from the Internet. The next-generation operating system, which is scheduled to ship early next year, were previewed by Apple executives at the Worldwide Developer's Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco during the week of Aug. 7-11.

In an e-mail sent to "Think Secret" by one of the workers, he or she wrote on condition on anonymity that "Because we had the character to tell the truth and to face the consequences of our actions, we were terminated. If we all lied and denied it would we still be working at Apple today? Even more so, is that the kind of person that Apple wants working for them?"

Other retails workers may be fired before the dust settles, Think Secret reported.

Two years ago, Apple tracked and sued three people it claimed had uploaded copies of the developer release of the now-current Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger) to popular BitTorrent file sharing services. This year, Apple has been stymied in an attempt to identity individuals who leaked upcoming product information about GarageBand, the company's music recording and editing software.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.