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Monday, October 16, 2006

Is Apples Option’s Scandal Over (AAPL)

Lynn Turner, a managing director of institutional investing service Glass Lewis put it this way: “I would say that Jobs and the Apple board threw Fred (former Apple CFO and board member Fred Anderson) under the bus to keep it from hitting them.” And, Charles Elson from The Center for Corporate Governance made the observation that “In the end, it will really be up to the SEC to decide”

The options issue at Apple is not over, not matter how much the company wants the market to think it is. High profile cases make careers, and, at the SEC and US Attorney’s office an opportunity like this only comes along ever few years.

With earnings just around the corner, the real risk to Apple’s share price is probably not the number of iPods the company sold last quarter, although that could push the stock one way or the other near-term. With CEOs at high profile companies like CNET and McAfee moving out the door, the issue of what Steve Jobs’ role in options grants was remains open.

With Apple’s stock up from $50.67 on July 14 to $75.02, a piece of negative news that pushes Jobs closer to the options back-dating issue would surely cause the stock to fall. With the government looking into how complete and accurate the Apple board’s probe was, investors probably do not have long to wait.

Douglas A. McIntyre can be reached at He does not own securities in companies that he writes about.

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