Few news about the future, some juicy exchange of jokes and a small Philippine against Greepeace, accused of reasoning on the maximum systems but not taking into consideration the most important things, the concrete ones. These are some of the key points of the annual Apple shareholders' meeting held yesterday morning in Cupertino.
The meeting was firmly held in hand by Jobs who responded promptly and, in some cases, even sharply to the shareholders who asked him for an account of a bit of everything, even if the central theme was, inevitably, that of stock options and related events.
The most interesting part concerned some of Jobs's comments on the declarations made by Fred Anderson, the former CFO according to which the fact that the CEO was not aware that precise procedures had to be followed to avoid incurring tax penalties would not correspond to the truth. . 'Anderson – Jobs said – an excellent person; I know because I have worked with him for several years. But I think his comments are slightly oversized about this. " Jobs then read the pronouncement of the control commission of the American stock exchange which in fact acquits Apple. "Unless you think there is a conspiracy underway that also involves the SEC as an accomplice – said the CEO – I believe this closes the matter"
The CEO then had a close exchange of jokes with a representative of the trade union confederation AFL-CIO, who asked him to return the shares subject to the scandal. "The shares in my possession were approved when the price was lower and they were assigned to me when their value had risen and despite this I did not ask to be reimbursed," Jobs said, provoking the hilarity of those present. There was a rather harsh exchange of jokes with Teamster Union which asked for 'greater transparency in linking the salaries of the mnagers to the company's performances'. Jobs first silenced the interlocutor when he tried to propose a question to the director Bill Cambell, then, following the insistence of his interlocutor, whose proposal was rejected by the assembly, Jobs advised him to introduce himself next year by running for the office of director.
Jobs then responded to eminently financial issues. To a partner who asked him about the possibility of a stock split (the grant of two shares instead of one, but at half the original price), Jobs replied referring to Google and Berkshire-Hathaway, two companies that have not implemented the stock split despite the very high value of their individual stocks.
Speaking of his salary (one dollar) Jobs said that the composition of the simple remuneration: 'I take half a dollar for the presence on the job and the other half dollar for what I produce'
Critical hints came from some shareholders who complained that only a few representatives of the board presented themselves in front of the meeting (in addition to Jobs, Eric Schmidt, Bill Campbell and Arthur Levinson were present), while someone else instead judged negatively the spending on research and development, a choice that according to someone (and also according to some media) would have caused Leopard's delay. This statement gave Jobs the opportunity for some interesting clarifications. 'Apple makes quality products because it chooses the right people – said the CEO – and the search is not synonymous with a large number of people or the quality is not obtained with the same ease with which you sign a check. If this were the case – Jobs said, raising approval among those present – Microsoft would have exceptional products ". Jobs said, however, that although he has not been particularly happy to delay the launch of Leopard, the operating system will be waiting.
The environmental issue, as expected, has not been as thorny as it could have been if Jobs in the past few days had not taken a step forward, with a letter that makes it clear what Apple will do to protect the environment. Not only have the critical interventions of some shareholders been withdrawn, but Greenpeace activists were present at the meeting and congratulated the CEO; when for the same activists they invited Apple to do more to become truly 'green to the core', Jobs blurted out beating hard against the environmental association accused of 'giving too much weight to words and little to facts' and to use as a factor measuring 'what people say they do and not what they are really doing. Your reality – Jobs continued – trusts too much of the maximum systems but attributes little consideration to science and engineering. I recommend hiring some technicians and opening a dialogue with the industry to find out what is really being done instead of relying on beautiful words ". Apple would have had proof of what this means by speaking with the few realities in the world that deal with introducing alternative substances to the harmful ones used in the world of computers. Cupertino would have been the only PC manufacturer to have officially come forward, a proof that Apple's competitors speak a lot but act little.
In the final part Jobs then answered any questions about the products, without revealing too much of the future. There has been confirmation that iPhone will be released next month (and Jobs has shown a copy to those present) and that it could soon open an Apple retail store in Vancouver (the largest Canadian city on the west coast still without a direct Apple store). ). Jobs then admitted that online services (essentially .Mac) have not yet expressed their potential, promising 'improvements and news for the next year'. Finally, to those who asked for a future with high definition content on the iTunes Store, Jobs replied with a sibylline 'you never know'.