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NYT Reports Steve Jobs' Exoneration 129

Posted by Zonk
from the happy-days-for-stevo dept.
heyitsgogi writes "The New York Times is reporting that Apple has cleared Steve Jobs of any wrongdoing. From the article: 'In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Apple said that while its investigation revealed that the company's stock option procedures did not include sufficient safeguards to prevent manipulation, Mr. Jobs did not benefit financially from any questionable stock awards.' As a result of the internal investigation, Apple said it would record $84 million in expenses related to the options awards."
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NYT Reports Steve Jobs' Exoneration

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  • by I'm just joshin (633449) on Friday December 29, 2006 @04:32PM (#17402372)
    Rosie ODonnell says she's not fat. Geek says that the 10 gadgets hanging out of every pocket makes him look sexy. Linus says that Linux is the best OS ever. Ballmer says the chair threw itself. Pot denys that the kettle is black.
  • ...what the!? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Penguinisto (415985)
    ""Apple is in a much more difficult position than other companies in the backdating morass, because a significant portion of its market valuation is based on Steve Jobs staying at his job," he said."

    Ah, and I suppose that if Bill Gates ever left Microsoft, Microsoft's stock would be doing just fine? (Note that there was a recent story from CNet news in which Gates went out of his way to say that he wasn't quite leaving MSFT yet...)

    Geez - it's not as if Steve Jobs is God or anything (zealots' assertions

    • Re:...what the!? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jellomizer (103300) * on Friday December 29, 2006 @04:44PM (#17402498)
      Well it is not that Jobs is irreplaceable but Jobs is heart of the company. The reason for Apples success lately was because the systems follows Jobs vision of a computer. Microsoft and Dell tend to compromise what all their customers say they want and put it in. Apple just put in what Jobs like. Hence being able to Switch OS's and Platforms without missing a beat. Democracy doesn't always come up with the best solution just one that everyone can deal with. Apple either you love it or you hate it. Apple does listen to your advice but just because a lot of people want that feature it doesn't mean they will put it in.
      • I don't disagree at all that a person (or group of people, e.g. Mssrs Hewlett and Packard) can be the source of vision and be the very heart of a company. My assertion is that somehow the writer thinks that Apple would collapse into some sort of corporate supermassive black hole 5 minutes after Jobs cleaned out his desk and left the offices at Cupertino.

        Seriously - Intel didn't implode when Andy Grove left. GE seems to be holding up okay minus Jack Welch... and both of them were HUGE driving forces in whe

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by pestilence669 (823950)
      Getting rid of incompetent management is harder than it sounds. That takes skill & balls. I've read a lot about Jobs' management style. Most CEOs don't seem to be as hands on. He seems to have a no compromise "my way or the highway" approach. I think his value is in his micromanagement.
    • Re:...what the!? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Friday December 29, 2006 @05:13PM (#17402818) Homepage

      Really?

      Steve Jobs pulled the company back from extinction. During his reign we've seen the rise of OS X, the iMac phenomenon, the iPod juggernaut, iTunes, and other great software. The fact is the design and implementation of nearly all of Apple's products (especially the big ones) owe at least something to Jobs tweaking. Don't forget his massive performances every Macworld (less than 2 weeks, yea!).

      The loss of Steve Jobs would be devastating to the company's stock, if not the company it's self.

      In fact, not too long after they announced Steve Job's cancer and successful surgery last year there was an opinion piece in Forbes that made a very strong case that they were wrong not to tell the stockholders about it until after it was fixed because he was such an important part of the company that his health really mattered, compared to the financial results if the CEO of Bank of America got cancer. BoA has other capable people and could survive.

      True or false, Apple is basically perceived by a great many people to be an extension of Steve of sorts. Without him there, it's not the same Apple.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by locokamil (850008)
      Judging by the amount of chaos, unhappiness and general unpleasantness in the world, I submit that Hell is actually pretty efficient...
    • It's not that Steve Jobs is god, it's just that us mac folk are pretty afraid of what products the company will poo out if he leaves again.
  • Nice to see. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by sgt.greywar (1039430) *
    Apple is no Enron. Sometimes they really didn't do it.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Because that's all this is: Apple saying Apple didn't screw up. Whoop-dee-fucking-doo.

      All we need now is for Jobs to write a book called "If I played games with stock options".
      • True, but Enron was so much more than messing with stock options. it was a financial shell game, shifting the company's debt from one dummy corporation to the next in order to create the illusion of profitability.
      • by argent (18001)
        OK, let's get this straight.

        Apple does an internal investigation, finds a problem, reports itself, and you're comparing this with Enron [lehenbauer.com] because they also say Steve Jobs didn't benefit from it?

        I guess someone's activated an even more powerful reality distortion field than Steve's.
    • Nice to "see" what? That some internal PR has found the Glorious Leader smells better than a dozen roses?

      Your standard of evidence being what it is, we can all sleep better knowing you're not adjudicating corporate crime.

  • by dmuth (14143) <doug,muth+slashdot&gmail,com> on Friday December 29, 2006 @04:39PM (#17402466) Homepage Journal
    An internal investigation by Microsoft has cleared Steve Ballmer of throwing any chairs.

    • A counter statement was later issued by attorney Flip Aeron, council representing the chairs in a civil suit against Mr. Ballmer.

      "It hit, so you can't acquit".

    • by tehSpork (1000190)
      A closer look at the Microsoft internal investigation informs us that, regardless of how the chair was set into motion, Balmer did not benefit from it psychologically and therefore the act might as well have never happened.
  • Whew.... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Keebler71 (520908) on Friday December 29, 2006 @04:42PM (#17402486) Journal
    What a relief... Apple has made a press release that an internal Apple investigation found no wrongdoing by its CEO. I am sure that is worth a lot to the SEC and is in no way damage control against the investor jitters since it was leaked that the SEC was investigating...
    • by afidel (530433)
      Dude, you've obviously never dealt with Internal Audit folks before! If they had an internal audit and never reported that would be one thing, but unless something is seriously wrong with a company I tend to trust internal auditors, they are brutal. If you have anything to do with SOX or HIPPA you know what I mean.
      • by rgbscan (321794)
        >>If you have anything to do with SOX or HIPPA you know what I mean.

        I do, and I know what you mean. Three weeks out of every year I sweat bullets and don't sleep while I go through my annual review with them. Internal Audit is the worst stress there is.
      • by cmdrbuzz (681767)

        , you've obviously never dealt with Internal Audit folks before! If they had an internal audit and never reported that would be one thing, but unless something is seriously wrong with a company I tend to trust internal auditors, they are brutal.

        Heh I've never had my job called brutal before, thanks!
        Seriously though whilst I work for a UK Bank doing S/I, I would have thought that IA would be just as thorough in any large company.
        If Apple release the contents of the report, everyone can see for themselves

    • by MightyYar (622222)
      While you have a point, and it will be great to see the final SEC report, remember that Apple was the original "whistle blower" here. If they intended a cover-up, they never would have said anything in the first place.
  • by CDPatten (907182)
    Apple may have cleared him. but the SEC hasn't. I suspect Apple is only clearing him because of the speculation, rumors, and falling stock.

    The internet is buzzing [marketwatch.com] withspeculation that Steve Jobs may step down over reports that he profited $7.5 million in stock options by falsifying an executive board meeting. The financial times has a good overview of the unfolding story [ft.com].

    From the Article:

    "Steve Jobs, chief executive of Apple Computer, was handed 7.5m stock options in 2001 without the required autho

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by drinkypoo (153816)
      The article still doesn't indicate any wrongdoing on the part of Jobs. It does suggest that apple fucked up someplace. It also kind of suggests that Jobs was involved, since he was the recipient of the options... But it doesn't say so.
    • by One Louder (595430) on Friday December 29, 2006 @05:07PM (#17402740)
      ...he profited $7.5 million in stock options...
      How exactly did he profit from these options when he gave them back without exercising them?
      • by ArtStone (745847)
        So if someone goes into a bank and robs it and gets caught - and agrees to give the money back - then nothing wrong happened?

        Did Jobs give the options back, or did Apple cancel them?
    • Astroturf Much? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Cadallin (863437) on Friday December 29, 2006 @05:15PM (#17402836)
      Falling stock? WTF? The only places I've seen people making a big deal out of this are posts by users on Tech sites. Meanwhile Apple stock is up nearly $4.00 today alone, and is riding at 10+ year high of over $84/share. Methinks there's some pretty heavy astroturfing going on about this. Because the facts seem to indicate that the shareholders and market in general don't give a flying fuck about this "huge" scandal. They're too busy watching Apple's continually rising sales and high profit margins to care about something as piss-insignificant as a $100 million in stock irregularities.

      I mean, god damn people, this isn't ENRON or WorldCOM. Apple sure as hell isn't collapsing like a house of cards. The facts remain: Apple is making shit tonnes of money. Worst Case Scenario out of this event: Apple gets a bit of bad press nobody cares about, they pay a fairly minor fine (compared to their Billions in Cash and liquid assets) of a few hundred million plus maybe some back taxes, and maybe, MAYBE a CFO and some other financial staff get forced into early retirement. That's it. You think the board of directors (let alone the Shareholders(!)) are going to cashier Steve "Reality Distortion Field" Jobs over 10 or so million? HA! Get a fucking life!

      • Frankly, I think the board of Apple will decide it's cheaper to have everyone at the SEC involved in the investigation assassinated than allow Jobs to step down.
    • by rubycodez (864176)
      a stock option is worth $0 if not exercised, I have some from the dot-com era that aren't even good for wiping my ass (difference between apple's and mine is if exercised mine would have negative value).
      • by Gorobei (127755)
        No. A stock option is worth $0 if expired. It has non-negative value if not expired, e.g. you can profit from owning an option even if the underlying price never reaches the strike price (that's called delta hedging.)
        • by terrymr (316118)
          Ok - The parent should have said that a stock option returns no profit if not exercised or sold. If you sit on it for a bit and give it back (like it is alleged Jobs did) then you've made no money.
        • No. A stock option is worth $0 if expired. It has non-negative value if not expired, e.g. you can profit from owning an option even if the underlying price never reaches the strike price (that's called delta hedging.)

          Yeap, all you'd have to do take out an option to sale while the stock is high.

          Falcon
    • by wass (72082) on Friday December 29, 2006 @05:42PM (#17403150)
      You wrote:
      The internet is buzzing withspeculation that Steve Jobs may step down over reports that he profited $7.5 million in stock options by falsifying an executive board meeting. The financial times has a good overview of the unfolding story.

      Yet quoting from the Financial Times article you linked to
      Mr Jobs later surrendered his options before they were exercised, implying that he did not gain any direct benefit from them. He was later given a grant of restricted stock by the company instead.

      So where is all this internet buzz describing how Jobs 'profited' from $7.5 million in stock options that he surrendered without exercising? You might want to RTFA [nytimes.com] which has many more specifics than your links.

      You further claim that Apple 'cleared him' due to speculation, rumors, and falling stock. But please explain how Apple can formally and legally exonerate Jobs without demonstrating exhaustive proof within SEC accounting rules that Jobs wasn't involved. Ie, they handed all results of their internal inquiry directly to the SEC, and if they falsified anything in there they'd be in far more trouble than they are now. And their internal investigation was quite exhaustive, with over 26,000 man hours [streetinsider.com] devoted to this issue.

      Also, you'll notice in that NYT article that the focus of the blame seems to lie on two executives (Fred Anderson and Nancy Heinen) that have both subsequently quit Apple since this backdating scam and also have their own independent lawyers ready. And FWIW, I can't find the story now, but an analyst at Piper Jaffray claimed a less than 5% chance Jobs was illegally involved but that as CEO it's standard practice to retain one's own legal counsel for such a situation.

      • by sideshow (99249)
        So where is all this internet buzz describing how Jobs 'profited' from $7.5 million in stock options that he surrendered without exercising?

        Yep, and when I gave back all that money I stole because I knew the cops were on to me, it totally kept me from being accused of theft!!!

        • by Lars T. (470328)

          So where is all this internet buzz describing how Jobs 'profited' from $7.5 million in stock options that he surrendered without exercising?

          Yep, and when I gave back all that money I stole because I knew the cops were on to me, it totally kept me from being accused of theft!!!

          So when exactly did Jobs give back the options? Last week? Last year? 2002? And why didn't "the cops" do anything for years if they were after him all the time?
    • Yes he was handed stock and he handed it back long before the initial story about the start of the internal investigation. You speak of the SEC but they have not been involved as of yet nor did they initiate this investigation. Nobody has been charged with anything and the SEC has not accused Apple of anything so far. All we have is a bunch of spin from the media. Had Apple not taken the initiative to investigate this matter, we would probably not be aware of this issue at this moment.
      • All we have is a bunch of spin from the media.

        At least if it was media spin, there might be something there that we'll find out later.

        All we REALLY have is spin from Microsoft apologists, jealous blogger pseudo-journalists, and people hoping to short the stock.
    • by jmordoj (256283)
      I don't think Steve Jobs would stain his hands for 7, 8 or 20 millions, he sold pixar for a LOT more than that, and he has always been (or at least for about 30 years now), a pretty solvent guy.

      I wouldn't think for a second that Jobs is a guy after a quick buck, I doesn't fit with his actions for the past decades.
    • The only thing insightful in this comment is how stupid the person making it is. Never mind the fact that Jobs gained nothing from the stocks since you cant profit from stocks you turned in, but for all purposes a internal investigation IS like the SEC going after them. All of the data gained from a internal audit is turned over to them and there are extremely strict rules for reporting these audits, meaning that if they couldnt find anything, then nothing the SEC could do would likely turn up anything eith
    • Apple may have cleared him. but the SEC hasn't. I suspect Apple is only clearing him because of the speculation, rumors, and falling stock.

      Maybe you didn't know but it was Apple that reported this to the SEC. If they had wanted to avoid all of this they ever would have reported it.

      Falcon
  • by theodp (442580) on Friday December 29, 2006 @04:51PM (#17402560)
    Check out the documents Apple filed with the SEC Friday [sec.gov] acknowledging that a grant of 7.5M options to CEO Steve Jobs with an exercise price of $18.30 dated 10-19-2001 was actually finalized on 12-18-2001 when the share price was $21.01. Apple goes on to note that approval for the grant was 'improperly recorded' as occurring at a special Board meeting on 10-19-2001 - a special Board meeting that Apple now admits did not occur. Apple takes a page out of Mark Hurd's I-know-nothing-playbook [siliconvalley.com], insisting that 'There was no evidence, however, that any current member of management was aware of this irregularity.' Which begs the question: Don't any members of Apple management read those Proxy Statements they provide to investors and the SEC? In 2002 [sec.gov] and 2003 [sec.gov], Apple's Proxy Statements clearly stated that: 'in October 2001 the Compensation Committee recommended and the Board approved granting Mr. Jobs options to purchase 7,500,000 shares under the 1998 Plan in order to provide him with an incentive to continue to serve as the Company's CEO and maximize shareholder value.' Apple also points out in its SEC filing that Jobs did not receive or financially benefit from backdated options, apparently feeling that the 5M shares of restricted stock Jobs was given after 'voluntarily canceling' his underwater options grants in 2003 [cnn.com] shouldn't count.
    • by donutello (88309)
      It's worse than that. Here's what Morningstar had to say about this:

      We have historically not agreed with Apple's "no harm, no foul" treatment of its shareholders when it comes to option issuance, pricing, and follow-on dilution. We are especially cautious about the spin that this CEO grant was simply canceled. A careful read of the situation reveals two CEO grants under review, representing 17.5 millions options with strikes in the $18-$30-plus range, were nearly worthless in March 2003 when they were cance

    • by mkiwi (585287)
      [sarcasm] Yes, and we all know that Steve needs those stock options to stay afloat with his $1 salary. [/sarcasm]

      Jobs is a billionaire, what motive coud he possibly have for getting that money. He is the largest share-holder in Disney, he could easily sell some of that stock and make a LOT of money.

      I don't see any possible motive for Jobs to do this other than to see just how well the Reality Distortion Field(tm) works.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by SETIGuy (33768)

        I don't see any possible motive for Jobs to do this other than to see just how well the Reality Distortion Field(tm) works.

        I don't think you understand how the billionaire mind works. They don't think of much of motivation when dealing with such trivial amounts of money. When you find a quarter in the vending machine change slot, how much effort do you exert to find the proper owner. What were your motivations in putting it in your pocket?

        I'm sure Steve feels the same way. He had a bunch of worthl

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Couldn't he have still done something illegal but not benefited financially?
    • by bagsc (254194)
      Yes. But this keeps him from being charged for fraud. "Three elements are required to prove fraud: a material false statement made with an intent to deceive (scienter), a victim's reliance on the statement and damages." Clearly, the first two occurred. If this were done last year, Jobs would already be packing up his office, because of the increased burden of proof thanks to SOX [wikipedia.org]. The question then is if the financial statements issued back then violated the accounting standards of the day.

      Of course, cr
      • Of course, creative lawyers will bring civil lawsuits on behalf of shareholders saying that there was damages in some other method.
        So in otherwords, lawyers will find a way to steal money from shareholders?
  • An internal investigation by the Clinton Justice Department found Algore did nothing wrong when he accepted gobs of soft money from the Bhuddist Monks at a "funraiser" due to "No Controlling Legal Authority" An Inconvenient Truth, Al?
    • Re: (Score:1, Redundant)

      by drinkypoo (153816)

      It's not like we really need this kind of crap in this story, but an internal investigation by the Bush DOJ found that Bush did nothing wrong when he lied to justify a war, causing the deaths of thousands of americans, and when he approved illegal^Wformerly illegal wiretaps on private citizens, and all the other shit he's done that has caused him to issue more presidential writs than all former presidents combined.

      Or in other words, we can point fingers all day, so let's try and keep the political crapo

  • ..... then that's cool right? Perhaps. But am I the only one who has a bit of an issue with no third party (and by that I mean COMPLETELY outside Apple) oversight? It's not as if they don't have an interest in this right?
    • But am I the only one who has a bit of an issue with no third party (and by that I mean COMPLETELY outside Apple) oversight?

      You mean like the SEC [sec.gov], to whom Apple directly gave the results and all details of their formal investigation to? And to whom they're legally obligated when carrying out said investigation, under penalties of perjury?

      Now of course just because Apple finds these conclusions on its own investigation which is 'on the record', doesn't mean they're inherently innocent, the SEC will give th
  • The US Securities and Exchange Commission and Department of Justice have independently terminated investigations into Apple's reportedly irregular stock option grant activities. A DoJ spokesperson was quoted as saying "A superior jurisdiction has cleared Apple and Steve Jobs of all allegations, so we obviously have no grounds to pursue."
  • It seems that you've been living two lives. One life, you're Fred D. Anderson, Chief Financial Officer for a respectable software company. You have a social security number, pay your taxes, and you... help your landlady carry out her garbage. The other life is lived in the back rooms, where you go by the hacker alias "Neo", and are guilty of virtually stock option crime we have a law for. One of these lives has a future, and one of them does not.

    We're willing to wipe the slate clean, give you a fresh sta

  • Of course Apple cleared Jobs of any wrong doing, who else is going to bail their ases out ?
    • Of course Apple cleared Jobs of any wrong doing, who else is going to bail their ases out ?

      Ah but Apple wouldn't of had to do any covering or bailing out their asses if Apple never reported the backdating to begin with. If Apple had kept it's mouth shut none of this would have happened, the only reason it's out in the open is because Apple reported it to the SEC to begin with, then started an investigation.

      Falcon
  • I know that the law views corporations as legal persons, but isn't this taking it a bit too far?
  • Apple said that while its investigation revealed that the company's stock option procedures did not include sufficient safeguards to prevent manipulation, Mr. Jobs did not benefit financially from any questionable stock awards.

    If this stands, its shitty news for anyone who holds stock. What this would essentially do is legalize corporate circle-jerking. In other words, it would be OK for top buddies to make deals that individually don't directly financially benefit the decision-maker, but such deals would

  • Steve Jobs was quoted today as saying, "I am proud to say that I have been exonerated by myself twice as fast as any previous corruption probe."

    That Steve! Always the innovator, even when it comes to stealing from the shareholder. I'm feeling a strange sensation right now -- I think it's from the corruption-distortion field.

  • Did anyone else read this as Steve Jobs Execution? Guess I've been looking at too many Sadam Hussein stories online today...
  • In other news (Score:1, Redundant)

    by /dev/trash (182850)
    Saddam Huessien just cleared himself of murder charges.
  • mafia clearing it's boss of any wrong doing? I'll wait for the investigation by a federal grand jury to decide if Jobs did anything indictable and judge and jury to decide his guilt.
  • The article says "As a result of the internal investigation, Apple said it would record $84 million in expenses related to the options awards.".

    Is this from expenses incurred as a result of the investigation or are these expenses that were not recorded previously, but should have been?
  • by 7Prime (871679) on Friday December 29, 2006 @09:30PM (#17405112) Homepage Journal
    Now, I can not attest to knowing anything about this ordeal, but it has been interesting to follow how the forum is handling it. I've noted that most of the posts on this forum largely fall into two catagories: flippint remarks, usually involving common cliches and tidbits from geek pop culture thrown in for good measure; and then fairly serious posts by people who actually READ THE ARTICLE, most of which exhonerate Mr. Jobs. Now, I expected quite a few posts that would attempt to clear him and settle the unrest it has caused... but I expected more in opposition by people who actually have something worthwhile to say.
    • by pboulang (16954)
      but I expected more in opposition by people who actually have something worthwhile to say./blockquote Doublecheck your URL.. are you reading the same forum I'm reading? ;)
    • If you actually RTFA on NYTimes and better yet, read Post,WSJ, LA Time article about it, then you would know that people who actually know anything about this is basically saying that Apple's internal investigation is a joke and there are numerous contradictions in the internal report.

      The Slashdot remarks fall into three categories: jokers, Apple Fanboys, and people who actually read the articles and thinks that Steve Jobs is a crook for fixing the books (even if he tried to exchange his ill-gotten gains

      • So which category do you fall into? Are you sure there is not a category you are missing? MSFT fanboys? Who would you be Mr. SeattleGameboy?
  • The news helped push shares of Apple up nearly 5 percent today to $84.84. Consider Apple's market cap being 70BN - that's a neat 3.5 BN in leap.

    For those who won't RTFA or Google into the matter - Another piece of news says Apple acknowledges fake documents [eetimes.com]. From the article: "In the filings, Apple [apple.com] (Cupertino, Calif.) acknowledged that the company faked documentation to indicate that a grant of 7.5 million options to CEO Steve Jobs was recorded at a special meeting of the board of directors on Oct.
  • AGM for year 2001. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by adsl (595429)
    The 7.5mm Stock award was "given" to Steve Jobs in October 2001, hence details would have been disclosed re Senior Execs remuneration in documents suppled for that yeas AGM. Now we are being told that nobody noticed that there had been no board meeting to award that amount of Shares to the CEO. The CEO didn't notice his award wasn't ratifies by a Board meeting. The CFO didn't notice The Gen Counsel didn't notice The Head of HR didn't notice The internal Audit Dept didn't notice The external Auditors in th
  • That about sums it up then. Nothing to see here. Move along.
  • Maybe he didnt. Fortunately (for Jobs), the story doesn't end here.

    From a more independent news source:

    "Apple says Mr Jobs' option was subsequently cancelled and resulted
    in no financial gain, but while the options were cancelled in 2003,
    Apple granted Mr Jobs five million shares in exchange."

    http://news.independent.co.uk/business/news/articl e1214598.ece [independent.co.uk]

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