Judge Lucy Koh's unsympathetic remark aimed at Apple's court case delaying tactics has fueled speculation about the tech company's future.
Things are certainly not going well for the once iconic tech company. No sooner does The Atlantic ask if the company has a young-people problem and criticizes its genius Apple campaign than the company becomes the butt of crack jokes.
The reason for this is the question levelled by Judge Koh at the company’s lawyer over the attempt by the latter to introduce a list of potential witnesses at the eleventh hour and with no hope of getting them all called in.
The "…unless you're smoking crack you know these witnesses aren't going to be called!" quip was taken up by the meme world that’s beginning to turn against Apple. Last month, triggered by the ban of the Samsung Nexus from sale, the hashtag #boycottapple trended for three weeks on Google Plus with sentiment against the company growing at every lawsuit revelation.
The Atlantic article forced the company to pull its genius ads which portrayed its customers as being too stupid to know how to use its products properly and further fuelled rumours that it has begun to lose a lot of its lustre. Reeling from revelations regarding environmental concerns over the manufacturing of its products and human rights concerns in the conditions its Chinese factory workers live, Apple may be struggling to redefine itself in a post-Steve Jobs era.
Certainly its spate of lawsuits and the impression that they are little more than punitive actions orchestrated by a company desperately trying to block its rivals from overtaking it are not quite the image Apple wants to project to its customers.
Whether it can manage to recover its footing and come out from all this with a viable plan for the 21st century will determine whether the company begins to falter or thrive in the fast-paced tech market place of today.