And Then There Were Five (9/22/02)

Speaking of shocking Apple press releases, by now you've likely noticed that the company has confirmed the rumors: Larry "Trust Me, You Could Never Afford This Suit" Ellison-- CEO of Oracle, poster boy of the Flashy Loudmouth Multibillionaire Society, and reportedly Steve Jobs's bestest buddy-- has officially said buh-bye to his long-held seat on Apple's Board of Directors. Larry gained the post in the Great Coup of 1997, when Captain Steve got the feckless Gil Amelio heaved ho from his CEOship, seized the position himself (on an "interim" basis-- yeah, right), and replaced nearly all of Apple's board with an assortment of hand-picked cronies and lifelike androids.

So why the sudden change? Well, we were all set to take the cheap shot (hey, we're not proud) and make a crack about Larry apparently having one too many yacht races in his schedule to fulfill his duties as an Apple board member, which presumably consist largely of showing up to board meetings and fighting over who has dibs on the last Krispy Kreme. Unfortunately, an Associated Press article-- you know, a real news source-- really does cite Larry's "upcoming bid to win the America's Cup yacht race" as a major factor in the lil' fella's resignation. Oooh, don't you just hate it when reality nixes a cheap joke like that?

So yes, apparently Sailor Larry is too busy doing yachtesque things (and, er, running Oracle) to improve his dismal Apple board meeting attendance record, which reportedly hovers in the 75% range over the course of his five-year stint. And if you're thinking "heck, three out of four ain't bad," well, normally we'd agree-- after all, it's not like we're paragons of Showing Up or anything. But consider that Larry has some $15 billion in the bank and was still paid seventy thousand stock options for his role as an Apple director. Look, folks, as you're all too aware, we're dyed-in-the-wool slackers over here, but if someone were funneling us that kind of compensation just to show up and shoot the breeze about Apple's future strategic direction over donuts and coffee, well, the odds are pretty good we'd make it to at least four out of five of those meetings. And half the time we'd probably even be on time.

Those of you who are panicking because you realize that Steve is just a puppet CEO and all of Apple's progress in the past five years is a direct result of Svengali Larry's masterful string-pulling, well, keep your hair on; saith the Master, "I will continue to offer my advice to Steve and the executive management team at Apple" on a more informal basis. Well, thank heaven for that-- at least now the stock price won't collapse on the news. Which means that you can stop worrying about a Larryless Apple tailspinning into a death plunge and instead devote your brain's unused CPU cycles to pondering the universe's other Great Unknowns-- like, is Larry's departure really about too much yachting, or is there maybe some bad blood between Steve and Larry over the outcome of last Sunday evening's weekly Magic: The Gathering showdown?

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The above scene was taken from the 9/22/02 episode:

September 22, 2002: Yes, we've been out of commission lately; blame it on Apple's inexplicable willingness to keep doing business with Best Buy. Meanwhile, Larry Ellison steps down from Apple's Board of Directors, and rumors that those new IBM PowerPC rumors are false are... um, false...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 3750: We Can Sue, Can't We? (9/22/02)   Yes, folks, it's really us-- your friendly neighborhood AtAT staff, finally back after many years of war and strangely changed, thus prompting suspicion among the local populace as well as our own families about whether or not we're really who we claim to be...

  • 3752: Power Mac G3, G4, G5... GPUL (9/22/02)   Much as it pains us to admit it, we'd be remiss not to point out that the Naked Mole Rat, infamous for embarking on long and unscheduled chemically-induced hibernations, actually posted two updates during our own most recent dry spell...

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