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Options, Bugs, Phones – Time For Macworld

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The Macworld Conference & Expo starts next week in San Francisco, but the parade of Mac fandom led off by Steve Jobs’ keynote will have negative news about stock option shenanigans, earnings restatements, and a daily diet of Apple bugs offsetting the positive Mac vibe.

An $84 million restatement of earnings due to improper option granting practices may not faze the diehard Apple fans who will descend on San Francisco for next week’s Macworld. New product announcements, and Apple will need to wow the crowd and excite the media, should help salve their wounds during the company’s winter of discontent.

Apple exonerated its iconic CEO after an investigation into inappropriate option grants to executives. The company said it would have to restate $84 million in earnings to account for stock-based compensation, but otherwise said they have “complete confidence” in Jobs and senior management.

Federal authorities may have something to say about the situation, as both the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission could take further action against Jobs and Apple.

A Wall Street Journal report said Jobs helped select the most favorable dates for granting options. These dates would be the ones where Apple stock traded at its lowest point.

Jobs was also implicated in similar date selection for his animation company Pixar, now part of the Walt Disney Company. “Pixar granted options to executives at the lowest closing prices of 1997, 1998, 2000 and 2003 — a highly improbable pattern,” the article noted.

While the executives and the board brace for outcomes involving possible criminal or civil procedures, Apple engineers will be bedeviled by security issues being released to the public. Through January, the Month of Apple Bugs blog claims they will have a new Apple issue each day.

So far LMH and Digital Munition founder Kevin Finisterre only have a QuickTime exploit, a stack-based buffer overflow, posted from January 1st. Several hours into January 2nd, we’ve yet to see the next bug release.

Something that may or may not be seen once Macworld kicks off is the much-rumored Apple Phone. It won’t be called the iPhone because Cisco owns that trademarked term.

There should be plenty to see whether or not Jobs comes out wearing a court-issued ankle bracelet. MacRumors said Mac OS X Leopard, the iTV, and a full video iPod are among the possible shiny candidates for a Macworld debut.

Software bugs, federal thugs, and those telephone rings…which will be among Jobs’ favorite things? Macworld starts January 8th.


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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

Options, Bugs, Phones – Time For Macworld
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