Not too be too cynical about it, but are we the only ones wondering if it was just a coincidence that the report on backdating at Apple, and Steve Jobs role in it, came out just a few days before the conference where Jobs announced the headline grabbing Iphone?
Still, it seems that even this, uhm, well-timed announcement hasn’t completely drowned out the critics of Jobs. Daniel Gross takes note of the disparity between the way many CEOs have been treated after revelations that they received backdated options grants and Apple’s exoneration of it’s CEO.
So let's review. Jobs recommended some backdating dates for other employees. He received a massive grant that was approved at a phantom board meeting, though he didn't know about the phony meeting. And he never cashed in those options because they were replaced in 2003 by a grant of restricted stock.
CEOs at other companies have been forced to resign for such activities. So why is Jobs getting off so easy? His job may be saved by the fact that he did not directly profit. More likely, though, he's been saved by his special status. Jobs is Michael Jordan in the 1990s, Citigroup in the 1980s, Walter Cronkite in the 1960s. He's a revered Hall of Famer who doesn't get whistled for fouls that send other pros to the bench.
Jobs is too big to fail. He is too popular—among investors, journalists, employees, analysts, and in the culture at large—for anyone to recommend that he be deposed.
Oh, and the Economist thinks it may be too early to think that Jobs is totally in the clear.
Snow Jobs [Slate.com]