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Steve Jobs deposition offers peek inside Apple

post #1 of 28
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A deposition given by Apple chief executive Steve Jobs to the Securities and Exchange Commission last year offers a window into the luminary's role at electronics maker and the largely fictitious history erected around his return to the company in 1997.

Jobs gave the videotaped testimony to SEC attorneys just over a year ago; AppleInsider obtained the nearly 120 page written transcript, which began by asking Jobs what formal education he had prior to working at Apple, with Jobs answering that he attended Reed College for six months before dropping out and sticking around as a "drop-in" for another year and a half in 1972-1973.

"I was a student that couldn't afford to pay, so I was sleeping on floors and in friends' dorm rooms and stuff," Jobs said. He later began working at Atari before partnering with Steve Wozniak to found Apple Computer. Jobs characterized his first decade at Apple as being "mostly the product side of things, worrying about the products," although he also served as Chairman of the Board.

After being fired in 1985, he left to begin two ventures, NeXT, which "started with a group of folks" and Pixar, "which was started by buying the computer graphics division of Lucasfilm, and we christened it Pixar," Jobs stated.

"NeXT had two parts to its business; one was to create some really good hardware and the other was to really pioneer object-oriented programming," which Jobs explained was "a way of writing software that can be far more flexible and, therefore, more efficient than traditional ways of writing software."

Jobs served as CEO of NeXT through its sale to Apple in 1997. However, Jobs countered the popular notion that asserts that he purposely took over Apple in a coup that ousted its existing CEO Gil Amelio.

Asked, "now, when Apple acquired NeXT then, did you, in essence, come back to Apple and work for or with Apple?" Jobs replied "no,."

Instead, Jobs said, "I believe I was a consultant to the then CEO of Apple," adding "well I didn't really serve as a consultant. It was just a title.... I don't even know if it was official."

"When Apple bought NeXT, Apple was pretty messed up," Jobs explained. "It was pretty easy to see. And I was trying to help in my arm's length role. I was trying to help Apple by getting some of the NeXT people into some jobs where they could help Apple, and that's pretty much all I was doing."

Jobs said he "got a call one day from one of Apple's board members" asking him what he thought of Amelio in the time he had spent around the then acting CEO. Jobs' response in the transcript is redacted, but Jobs subsequently said he did not hear from the board again for another three months, "and then [a board member] called me again ... and said they were going to fire [Amelio] ... and would I come back and run Apple."

Asked if he then took on the role of CEO at Apple, Jobs answered, "no I did not. I was very concerned that Pixar was a newly public company with shareholders, employees, and I felt that -- to my knowledge there have never been a CEO of two public companies before. So I felt if I took the job, the Pixar shareholders and employees would think I was abandoning them."

"I decided I couldn't do that," Jobs added, "so I took the title of interim CEO and agreed to come back for 90 days to help recruit a full-time CEO." Asked how that recruitment effort went, Jobs replied, "I failed."

"Apple was not in good shape an everybody knew it and the kind of candidates that we were being offered by the headhunters were not very talented," he said.

"In other words," Jobs was asked, "not the sort of people who could turn apple around?" "Yes," Jobs replied.

After the 90 days were up, Jobs said "it just kind of slid into the fact that I stayed. I kept the interim CEO title for quite sometime, a number of years." Eventually, Jobs said he "felt I had demonstrated to both companies that I could be the CEO of both companies and successfully manage that."

Outlining his responsibilities as CEO, Jobs said "I give a report to the board at every meeting on the status of upcoming products and developments and the status of our research and development, strategic issues, things we're screwing up, personnel -- key personnel issues. Those kinds of things. That's my primary role."

Jobs testified that he hadn't served on any finance-related board committees such as the Audit, Compensation, or Governance Committees, and that his efforts to push for options grants was related to retaining executive talent.

After an initial partial recovery between 1997 and the 2000 bursting of the dot com bubble, "Apple was in a precarious situation ... and I thought that Apple's executive team and the stability of Apple's executive team was one of its core strengths." Jobs said.

"I was very concerned because Michael Dell, one of our chief competitors, had flown Fred Anderson, our CFO, down to austin, I guess, him and his wife, I think, to try to recruit him. And I was also concerned that ... two very strong technical leaders were also very vulnerable." Jobs stated.

"I was very concerned that Apple could really suffer some big losses on its executive team with the business environment we ere in and the competitors coming after our people."

Jobs himself had witnessed a mass exodus of talent from Apple many years earlier, first accompanying him when he left for NeXT in the mid 80s, and then filtering out into other companies in the early to mid 90s, with Microsoft recruiting many Apple employees and buying up independent companies started by former Apple employees.

Apple has worked to preserve its key talent since, following a general industry trend away from option grants toward restricted stock grants. With restricted stock, employees are awarded fewer shares that have real value regardless of the stock price, so if restricted shares are granted at $100 and the value drops to $80, they're still worth $80.

Options however, represent the ability to buy stock at a given strike price. If options are granted at $100 and the market value drops to $80, they become worthless to employees because they only represent the option to buy shares at a lower price than the market. If the market price drops, those worthless options are referred to as "underwater."

Around the dot com bubble, tech industry employees were frequently awarded tens of thousands of options that would vest and become exercisable at regular intervals, acting as a strong inducement to stay and perform, at least until the options vested. That resulted in options being a high stakes gamble that could do relatively little to retain employees once the company's stock price began to flatten.

At Apple, Jobs proposed issuing "mega grants" of options to executive members, granting them all at once to take advantage of the low point in Apple's stock relative to the company's long term prospects, rather than issuing regular new option grants on an annual basis over the next four years.

"It cost the shareholders no greater dilution, and yet have the employees more upside, which meant we could actually give them less shares and cause less dilution," Jobs explained. As Apple grants options or restricted stock to employees, the overall value of the every share is diluted. So granting fewer shares early and leveraging a low stock price to provide a larger return benefitted everyone involved and encouraged performance and retention.

Ironically, shareholders have since complained that Apple's option grants were improper because the options' grant dates were completed without an official meeting and adequate paperwork filings. Jobs had pushed for approval of the option grants for months as Apple's stock rapidly rose, eating up the value of those options before the paperwork could be completed.

The SEC eventually settled the matter by charging Apple's general counsel Nancy Heinen and its former CFO Fred Anderson steep fees for their part in failing to properly document the option grants. In 2007, Apple recorded $84 million in charges to update its accounting for the backdated options.

The SEC announced that year that Apple wouldn't be sanctioned over the accounting issue, and an independent investigation by a special committee of Apple's board, led by former Vice President Al Gore, exonerated Jobs of any misconduct in the matter. Jobs own "mega grant" was later traded in for a restricted stock grant of lesser value.
post #2 of 28
Just thought I'd point out the fact that this needs major editing for obvious errors, but it is a rather interesting article.
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post #3 of 28
Quote:
a special committee of Apple's board, led by former Vice President Al Gore, exonerated Jobs of any misconduct


Al Gore- the self proclaimed "inventor" of the internet!
post #4 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

Al Gore- the self proclaimed "inventor" of the internet!

Atleast he didn't "invent" the Iraq War
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post #5 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by MsNly View Post

Just thought I'd point out the fact that this needs major editing for obvious errors

And thank you so very much for mentioning each and every one of those errors for us, point by point. Your post makes those errors so abundantly clear, that I simply cannot imagine how I was able to read AppleInsider without your help.
post #6 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

Al Gore- the self proclaimed "inventor" of the internet!

He never said that, not that you care.
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post #7 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by MsNly View Post

Just thought I'd point out the fact that this needs major editing for obvious errors, but it is a rather interesting article.

Yeah apart from some spelling mistakes, the following sentence seems to be incorrect:
Quote:
... so if restricted shares are granted at $100 and the value drops to $80, they're still worth $80.

shouldn't it read "... they're still worth $100"?
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post #8 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by bloggerblog View Post

Yeah apart from some spelling mistakes, the following sentence seems to be incorrect:

shouldn't it read "... they're still worth $100"?

I think maybe you should research what a restricted option is before posting comments about all the errors. Just my two cents.
post #9 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

Al Gore- the self proclaimed "inventor" of the internet!

http://www.snopes.com/quotes/internet.asp
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post #10 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by bloggerblog View Post

Yeah apart from some spelling mistakes, the following sentence seems to be incorrect:

shouldn't it read "... they're still worth $100"?

THESE ARE DIRECT QUOTES-Don't blame AppleInsider for quotes by Mr. Jobs.
"Him and his wife..." you missed that one!
PS It was Doug Engelbart who invented the beginnings of the internet, and the mouse and the Desktop which BG copied to make Microsoft Windows! (Apple actually paid stock for PARC's inventions and greatly improved them). Al Gore is only trying to stop the lung and liver cancers that are killing us from our own air and water.
post #11 of 28
Amelio really needed to go, although most of the damage to Apple was done by the Pepsi salesman. Amelio just compounded it. As for Jobs, how come no one points out any more that he made a living for a while selling illegal telephone ringers (so called "black boxes") that mimicked the sound of specific denomination coins being deposited in pay phones?

BTW: NeXt was on the verge of failing because the hardware was too expensive and it underperformed for the price. And Jobs, God love him but not enough to make him come visit any time soon, is the biggest huckster since P.T. Barnum. (That was actually a compliment the first time I said it back in the day and still holds true now.)
post #12 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by 8CoreWhore View Post

http://www.snopes.com/quotes/internet.asp

I stand to be corrected- He "created" the internet!
post #13 of 28
[QUOTE=hardedge;1408798] As for Jobs, how come no one points out any more that he made a living for a while selling illegal telephone ringers (so called "black boxes") that mimicked the sound of specific denomination coins being deposited in pay phones?
Payback----iPhones are only on ATT!
post #14 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post

He never said that, not that you care.

You are correct sir, what he said was

"During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet"

Gore said when asked to cite accomplishments that separate him from another Democratic presidential hopeful, former Sen. Bill Bradley of New Jersey, during an interview with Wolf Blitzer on CNN on March 9, 1999.


Yup, that's much better.
post #15 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

I stand to be corrected- He "created" the internet!

Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

Al Gore- the self proclaimed "inventor" of the internet!

Lucky he didn't. Some patent troll would be suing him.
post #16 of 28
Interesting article. No wonder his health deteriorated. Running two of the large corporations is not easy.
post #17 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Jobs said he "got a call one day from one of Apple's board members" asking him what he thought of Amelio in the time he had spent around the then acting CEO. Jobs' response in the transcript is redacted, but Jobs subsequently said he did not hear from the board again for another three months, "and then [a board member] called me again ... and said they were going to fire [Amelio] ... and would I come back and run Apple."

LOL. I love this. It's classic Steve Jobs. There is a reason it is redacted. This makes it seem like Steve had NO hand in ousting Amelio. Gimme a break. Does anyone really believe that? Yes, Steve Jobs just sat by the wayside and was innocently approached by the board. Yeah, right.

Look, Amelio was no Jobs, but he was hardly as bad as he is made out. Read his book. Clearly, it's biased, but filled with some interesting insight. If Amelio was SO bad, why was he ousted and then Jobs simply continued following Amelio's financial and strategic game plan? Of course, Steve made many changes, but I find the whole section about how things transpired comical. You've gotta love Steve Jobs.
post #18 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by bloggerblog View Post

Yeah apart from some spelling mistakes, the following sentence seems to be incorrect:

shouldn't it read "... they're still worth $100"?

No, the shares are worth $80. That sentence is just contrasting the value of stock shares
to the value of options. Options with a strike price of $100 are not worth much when the
underlying stock is at $80. In this instance, the Apple employee would be much better off
owning restricted stock than options, although the employee could not realize any cash by
selling the shares until the restriction lapses.

Where the article makes a mistake is where it says:

Options however, represent the ability to buy stock at a given strike price. If options are granted at $100 and the market value drops to $80, they become worthless to employees because they only represent the option to buy shares at a lower price than the market. If the market price drops, those worthless options are referred to as "underwater."



When the options are underwater, they represent an opportunity to buy the shares at a higher price
than the market. This is obviously a bad idea. Buying at lower than the market price is what you want to
do, and is the idea behind granting options as compensation (when a company's stock price is rising).
post #19 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by bloggerblog View Post

Yeah apart from some spelling mistakes, the following sentence seems to be incorrect:

shouldn't it read "... they're still worth $100"?

No. They're worth $80, or the then-market value upon vesting.
post #20 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lemmy Caution View Post

You are correct sir, what he said was

"During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet"

Gore said when asked to cite accomplishments that separate him from another Democratic presidential hopeful, former Sen. Bill Bradley of New Jersey, during an interview with Wolf Blitzer on CNN on March 9, 1999.


Yup, that's much better.

After which he said "I took the initiative in moving forward a whole range of initiatives that have proven to be important to our country's economic growth and environmental protection, improvements in our educational system", so unless you want to claim that Gore was taking credit for the country's economic growth, environmental protection, and educational system, you might want to draw the obvious conclusion that he was referring to the kind of congressional initiatives that help move things along.

Which is in fact quite a bit different from the popular but brain dead talking point "Al Gore says he invented the internet."
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post #21 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by JDW View Post

And thank you so very much for mentioning each and every one of those errors for us, point by point. Your post makes those errors so abundantly clear, that I simply cannot imagine how I was able to read AppleInsider without your help.

Sorry that I happen to have a life and was too busy (places to be, people to see) to stop and tell the editors exactly what they should have done in the first place. I just thought I should bring it to their attention.
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post #22 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by initiator View Post

LOL. I love this. It's classic Steve Jobs. There is a reason it is redacted. This makes it seem like Steve had NO hand in ousting Amelio. Gimme a break. Does anyone really believe that? Yes, Steve Jobs just sat by the wayside and was innocently approached by the board. Yeah, right.

Look, Amelio was no Jobs, but he was hardly as bad as he is made out. Read his book. Clearly, it's biased, but filled with some interesting insight. If Amelio was SO bad, why was he ousted and then Jobs simply continued following Amelio's financial and strategic game plan? Of course, Steve made many changes, but I find the whole section about how things transpired comical. You've gotta love Steve Jobs.

Let's put you under oath and have you describe your career from the time you were in college until decades later. Would it line up fact for fact with your wikipedia entry? Probably not. That's human nature. I think we as readers understand that and take this testimony for what it's worth: an interesting summary of events from SJ's perspective.
post #23 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by quinney View Post

No, the shares are worth $80. That sentence is just contrasting the value of stock shares
to the value of options. Options with a strike price of $100 are not worth much when the
underlying stock is at $80. In this instance, the Apple employee would be much better off
owning restricted stock than options, although the employee could not realize any cash by
selling the shares until the restriction lapses.

Where the article makes a mistake is where it says:

Options however, represent the ability to buy stock at a given strike price. If options are granted at $100 and the market value drops to $80, they become worthless to employees because they only represent the option to buy shares at a lower price than the market. If the market price drops, those worthless options are referred to as "underwater."



When the options are underwater, they represent an opportunity to buy the shares at a higher price
than the market. This is obviously a bad idea. Buying at lower than the market price is what you want to
do, and is the idea behind granting options as compensation (when a company's stock price is rising).

ah alright, thanx
bb
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bb
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post #24 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post

After which he said "I took the initiative in moving forward a whole range of initiatives that have proven to be important to our country's economic growth and environmental protection, improvements in our educational system", so unless you want to claim that Gore was taking credit for the country's economic growth, environmental protection, and educational system, you might want to draw the obvious conclusion that he was referring to the kind of congressional initiatives that help move things along.

Which is in fact quite a bit different from the popular but brain dead talking point "Al Gore says he invented the internet."

Great- now can you explain to us what the definition of the word "is" is?
post #25 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

Great- now can you explain to us what the definition of the word "is" is?

I may not know what a specific definition of "is" under a specific context is, but I know the definition of "torture" under any context.
post #26 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by malax View Post

Let's put you under oath and have you describe your career from the time you were in college until decades later. Would it line up fact for fact with your wikipedia entry? Probably not. That's human nature. I think we as readers understand that and take this testimony for what it's worth: an interesting summary of events from SJ's perspective.

His testimony is pure spin. This is a clever, clever man. You don't sort of slide your way into the control of a company like Apple. He knew exactly what he was doing and he knew why he was doing it the way he did it.

Anybody who believes a megalomaniac like Jobs thought at any time that he could not run two tech companies has not been paying attention. Of course he thought he could do it. If it hadn't been done before, that just made it more interesting. Jobs is all about doing what hasn't been done before. It's his MO.

He was so good at this game that he figured out he had to do it in a way that would not result in negative fallout at Pixar. He would never admit this on the record, nor would his intentions be subject to cross-checking. Oath? Give me a break. It's not like the SEC would have access to his thoughts from 10 years ago.

We are talking about a true genius here, and somebody who never telegraphs his next move. I truly hope he recovers; the world will be a more boring place without him.
post #27 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alonso Perez View Post

His testimony is pure spin. This is a clever, clever man. You don't sort of slide your way into the control of a company like Apple. He knew exactly what he was doing and he knew why he was doing it the way he did it.

Anybody who believes a megalomaniac like Jobs thought at any time that he could not run two tech companies has not been paying attention. Of course he thought he could do it. If it hadn't been done before, that just made it more interesting. Jobs is all about doing what hasn't been done before. It's his MO.

He was so good at this game that he figured out he had to do it in a way that would not result in negative fallout at Pixar. He would never admit this on the record, nor would his intentions be subject to cross-checking. Oath? Give me a break. It's not like the SEC would have access to his thoughts from 10 years ago.

We are talking about a true genius here, and somebody who never telegraphs his next move. I truly hope he recovers; the world will be a more boring place without him.

Well said!
post #28 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

Al Gore- the self proclaimed "inventor" of the internet!

Al Gore didn't invent the internet.

He did make up Global Warming though.
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