Uncle Steve Goes Gapless (10/4/02)

Everybody do the Boardroom Shuffle! Man, here we always thought that in corporate America the role of any board of directors worth its salt was to hibernate 98% of the time and then emerge from their holes every couple of months, meet in a room with a really big and expensive table, and then fight over who gets the last jelly donut. Not so, Spanky; there are signs of life in them thar hills! Maybe Larry Ellison's recent departure from Apple's board was a trendsetting moment (what with Larry being the world-savvy, jet-set go-getter and all) and other directors are following suit. Or maybe BusinessWeek's recent naming of Apple and Gap Inc. to its list of the eight companies with the worst boards in the country struck a nerve. Who's to say?

All we know for sure is that, boardroom-wise, things are getting all shook up, uh huh huh, uh huh, yeaaaa-heaah. (Insert Elvis lip-twitch and hip-swivel here. Don't worry, we're only filming from the waist up.) Following hot on the heels of Larry's resignation from Apple's board to go play with boats, faithful viewer Matt points out that now Gap has announced Steve Jobs's resignation from its board of directors, allegedly so he can "focus on other priorities." Other priorities? A likely story. What other priorities? Being CEO of two major corporations? Spending time with his family? Getting his bowling average up over 230? C'mon, even all of that stuff added together probably leaves him, what, eight or ten hours of free time per day, right?

We really can't help thinking that BusinessWeek is indeed a major factor in these shifts; after all, two of its biggest criticisms of Apple's board were that Larry Ellison was dead weight (problem solved) and Gap CEO Millard Drexler was on Apple's board while Apple CEO Steve was on Gap's (also solved). In fact, that second problem is doubly fixed, since Drexler isn't even Gap's CEO anymore-- Gap announced that he was replaced last week. So now all Apple has to do is get Micro Warehouse's Jerry York off the board and then persuade Steve to buy a few fistfuls of Apple stock and give back the jet, and BusinessWeek will have nothing more to complain about.

Meanwhile, we understand that wonky Apple conspiracy theorists are flying high these days, drawing relations between Gap's new CEO Paul Pressler being "a 15-year veteran of The Walt Disney Company" and Steve's sudden ensuing departure from the Gap board. Did he beat a hasty retreat? In other words, is this yet another tenuous Disney-Apple connection to bolster the dear-lord-it-just-won't-DIE-already rumor of a buyout of the latter by the former? Well, let's just put it this way: you do know that Millard Drexler goes by the name "Mickey," don't you?

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The above scene was taken from the 10/4/02 episode:

October 4, 2002: Just days after Larry Ellison quit Apple's board, Steve Jobs has given up his role as a director for Gap Inc. Meanwhile, if you're in the market for business-class high-speed Internet access, you can snag a free iPod in the process, and word has it that the iPod can actually be used to download music from the Internet!...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 3766: Free iPod: The Geeks' Turn (10/4/02)   Longtime viewers will recall that it's something of a tradition 'round these parts for AtAT to tip our audience off to the various ways in which they might acquire a free iPod now and again. For instance, back in February we suggested that you sing at the Grammys, since performers at that sedate and dignified ceremony reportedly received iPod-laden goodie bags in return for shakin' their groove thangs onstage...

  • 3767: It Also Dices And Juliennes (10/4/02)   Speaking of the iPod and unrepentant copyright violation, we just have to kick off your weekend by sharing some absolutely amazing news we discovered by way of the Portsmouth Herald: in an article on peer-to-peer file sharing and its widespread use as a means to pirate digital music and movie content, the paper features a big ol' photo of a hand holding an iPod, and the caption is "Apple's iPod is just one of the many ways to download music from the Internet."...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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