In 2001, Apple CEO Steve
Jobs was looking for a little affirmation from the company's board of
directors for the work he'd done in resurrecting the company.
Less than two years before, Apple had given
Jobs a $90 million gift of an airplane and the largest stock option grant in
history. But by summer 2001, he was upset that those options were underwater
and the company hadn't granted him more.
"I was hurt," Jobs said in a deposition taken
last year and obtained Monday by the Mercury News. He noted that he had
helped secure millions of options for other top Apple executives earlier
that year, and added: "I just felt like there is nobody looking out for me
"It wasn't so much about the money," Jobs
continued in the deposition, which was taken during the government's
investigation into options backdating at Apple. "But everybody likes to be
recognized by their peers."
Apple later granted Jobs an additional 7.5
million options. The company acknowledged in late 2006 that it backdated
that grant and thousands of others. Jobs in 2003 traded the two massive
options grants for 5 million shares of restricted stock.
The deposition, taken in March 2008 in
Cupertino, provides a rare up-close and unvarnished look at the notoriously
secretive Jobs and his role at Apple. What comes across is not only Jobs'
neediness but also his apparent ignorance of the finer points of accounting
and corporate governance.
For example, Jobs acknowledged that he had
signed a letter sent in October 2001 to Apple's auditors that claimed that
the company had fully disclosed to the auditors all the information they
needed to check the company's books.
But Jobs acknowledged in the deposition that, at the time of the letter, he
was essentially ignorant of what the auditors might need to verify Apple's
internal accounting, particularly how it accounted for stock options.
"I mean, I've since learned some things in the last 18 months; but at this
point in time, I didn't understand that, no," Jobs said in response to a
question about options accounting.
During the deposition, Jobs was not feeling well, a point he emphasized both
at the beginning and the end. He requested that if the video of the
deposition were ever shown to a jury, that the jury be shown the part where
he acknowledged being ill.
Jobs went out on a five-month medical leave in January this year after
rumors about his health had swirled since the company's developer conference
last June, when he appeared gaunt. The New York Times reported in July that
Jobs had surgery and suffered a malady in the weeks before the conference.
The conference took place less than three months after Jobs' deposition.
Apple spokesman Steve Dowling declined to comment Monday on whether the
illness Jobs mentions in the deposition is the same one he suffered before
the developer conference.
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