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For six years, the Internet Nexus served as my technology blog, but I've since started blogging at the SuperSite Blog instead. If you're looking for the blog, please head there. --Paul

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Apple's alleged stock options abuses

I've been asked by a number of people why I haven't weighed in on Apple's stock options abuses investigation. The answer is simple, if multi-tiered: I have no information about what did or did not happen and therefore have nothing to add to the discussion. I'm not a lawyer. And I just don't care.

For the most part, my concern is the technology. From this perspective, Apple is a phenomenally fascinating company, and the reason I've been discussing Apple even in my Windows-oriented newsletter, WinInfo, since its inception over a decade ago. I'm less interested in personalities. The cult of Jobs (or the cult of Gates for that matter) is of no interest to me in the slightest. Jobs is only interesting insomuch as he is clearly responsible for great Apple technology despite his complete lack of technical background. For a guy who is pretty much a self-taught designer and businessman, Jobs knows his stuff. Jobs is Apple, more even than Bill Gates is Microsoft.

Occasionally, soap operas like the Microsoft antitrust trial intrude on my otherwise purely technical concerns. In these instances, the back room politics become interesting, but again, mostly because of their effects on technology. For example, Microsoft choosing to integrate IE into Windows was clearly a mistake. The why's and wherefore's of that decision are interesting. But its impact on Windows and Windows users is more interesting. I care about PC history, but only in the product and technology sense. I like to know when and how technologies are invented, how they change over time, and how they perform in the real world when used by real people. (Case in point. Getting to really talk to NT architects like Marc Lucovsky and David Thompson was far more meaningful and fulfilling to me than meeting Gates.)

So back to Apple and stock options abuses. Apple is just one of many companies currently under scrutiny or investigation. That "everyone else was doing it" doesn't necessarily clear Apple, and I did find Apple's own conclusions--that Steve Jobs knew nothing about what was going on--and the Apple community's instant acceptance of that announcement as fact, to be pure silliness. But in the end, I just don't care. Everyone else was doing it, but the corporate shenanigan stuff is still inherently uninteresting. In this case, it never affected any technology and, by extension, any users. Ultimately, that's why this is so uninteresting.

Now if Steve Jobs were in some danger of losing his job because of this episode, we'd have a different story, and suddenly Apple's stock options abuses would rise to the level of the Microsoft antitrust trial in my book. But I don't see that happening.
[ Posted at 10:47 AM | Permalink ]


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