Originally uploaded by ИΞUSKOOĿ.
One last thought on the Apple options mess: This might have been avoided if it were not for the cult of Steve Jobs.
After settling with the SEC, former Apple CFO Fred Anderson is trying to save his reputation by publicizing the fact that he had warned Steve Jobs there might be problems with the accounting for the backdated options at the center of the controversy. In effect, he is shifting blame to his former boss. But as an SEC lawyer points out in this morning's NYT:
“From our standpoint, the key fact in assessing Mr. Anderson’s liability is that regardless of what he may or may not have believed, he had before him e-mails that stated the price was picked with hindsight and that the board’s authorization was dated on a date when no event occurred,” said Marc J. Fagel, associate regional director for the commission. “Based on that, he should have done more to ensure the financial statements were accurate.”
In other words, it's the CFO's job to tell the CEO what he can and cannot do when it comes to the company's money and financial statements. But when your boss is Steve Jobs and he tells you the board has cleared something, who is going to question him? Jobs' cult of personality helped him save Apple and it is why we are all so fascinated by him, but everything has its downside.
If Apple keeps announcing record earnings and Jobs keeps out of the SEC's crosshairs, investors won't care. It's like the Fake Steve Jobs says:
I wish I could describe for you how it feels to be inside Apple right now. It's just this feeling of unconscious greatness, like those basketball dudes when they're playing out of their minds and every shot they throw up just goes whoosh, through the hoop. Unfortunately you'll probably never experience this, so you'll just have to take my word for it. Trust me, it's mind-blowing. It's like the best acid you've ever done, only it's really happening.
Oops, gotta go. My management team just showed up with a cake. They're going to carry me down to the lobby on their shoulders ... .
Then we're going to bust open a keg and totally get hammered. Then we're going to burn Nancy and Fred in effigy