The run up to Macworld Expo each January is unquestionably the most exciting time of the year for the Mac faithful. The rumor mill is working overtime with predictions about new products that could be announced and Apple consumers and journalists prepare for the annual pilgrimage to San Francisco's Moscone convention center for The Big Dance.
There's only one problem though. This year's Apple hype is being overshadowed by the Securities and Exchange Commission investigation into stock options back dating by the company. Much has been written about the fiasco, but the investigation stems from a grant of 7.5 million stock options in 2001 to CEO Steve Jobs without proper authorization from the company's board of directors according to The Financial Times.
"Back dating" allows companies to assign more favorable grant dates to stock options in order to ensure higher profits when the options are exercised.
The SEC investigation reportedly centers around illegal activities surrounding stock options issued to Steve Jobs. According to FT "Records that purported to show a full board meeting had taken place to approve Mr Jobs' remuneration, as required by Apple's procedures, were later falsified."
Full disclosure: CNET Networks, parent to ZDNet is also the subject of a government investigations into the practice of stock-option backdating.
Apple is providing all relevant information to the SEC for its investigation, according to the company.
The good news is that Apple has cleared both Apple management and CEO Steve Jobs himself of any wrongdoing after concluding its internal probe about backdated stock options according to Business Week. Apple's stock price was momentarily hit by the news of the SEC investigation, but eagle-eyed investors descended and picked up Apple shares less than US$78. Shares of AAPL are already back up to over US$84 at the time of this writing.
Should all this even matter? Does it spoil Expo for you? I just want my iTV already.