Apple Without Jobs: Tasty Treat, or Forbidden Fruit?
12/27/2006 9:14 PM PT
The apple may not fall far from the tree, but Apple's share price nearly fell out of the tree today, plunging six percent before rebounding.
Well, the stock options backdating scandal that's engulfed so many Wall Street companies has also come to Apple.
An unconfirmed, published report in a law journal today said, to quote TheStreet.com, that "federal prosecutors are reviewing the computer maker's stock-option administration documents to see if they were intentionally falsified by company officials."
Among those officials under particular scrutiny are Apple founder and black turtleneck-wearer-in-chief, Steve Jobs.
And an Apple without Jobs? It clearly makes investors very nervous. As Wired points out, Steve's had a hell of a good year.
But it also begs the question, as MarketWatch editor-in-chief David Callaway sagely observed,
"Are the [Apple] shares, having tripled in the last two years on the power of the iPod revolution, still reflecting the phenomenal growth story of a reinvented company that changed the music industry like it did the computer industry 30 years ago? Or are they hanging by a thread on the future of a hard-charging, arrogant leader who could blow up at any time? ... The answer depends on whether you believe Steve Jobs is Rupert Murdoch or Frank Perdue."
That is, is he a builder of media empires, or simply a pitchman who's become inseparable from his product -- like the lamentably late Frank -- you know: "It takes a tough man to make a tender chicken."?
We thought we'd put the question to you, dear readers: What is Apple without its mercurial, visionary founder? Vote and tell us what you think...