Kyleのシリコンバレー通信(英語)

2008年9月号 皆さん,もうiPhone 3Gは手に入れました?

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Yet Another Backdating Lawsuit

It was back in June 2006 that Apple announced it had found problems with its stock options. After six months of investigating, Apple said that it had cleared Steve Jobs of wrongdoing. But with him blameless, the former CFO Fred Anderson and former counsel Nancy Heinen were the ones to eventually take the blame. The U.S. Federal government's Securities and Exchange Commission charged both with the crime of "improper stock option backdating... which resulted in the Company's [Apple's] issuance of false financial statements that concealed millions of dollars in executive compensation." It meant that Apple did not report $40 million in expenses that it should have, and that is certainly quite a chunk of change. They are also accused them of altering company records to cover up their fraud. The government claims that Heinen did the actual backdating and Anderson didn't correct it, and both received millions of dollars in "unreported compensation." Heinen is also accused of making up minutes of a board meeting that never took place, where the board supposidly voted on Steve's receipt of these lucritive options. By setting a date in the past where the stock was worth less, the recipents would have stock options worth money immediately rather than possibly worth money sometime in the future (if the stock happens to increase in value). You can find the accusations at http://sec.gov/litigation/complaints/2007/comp20086.pdf. And now we find that Apple's legal woes over that backdating aren't quite over. A couple of Apple shareholders have filed suit against "former CFO Fred Anderson, former counsel Nancy Heinen, CEO Steve Jobs and board members William Campbell, Millard Drexler, Arthur Levinson, and Jerome York." This new suit seems to follow the SEC document in claiming that these people intentionally filed false document and thereby hid stock option grants. "The defendants knew that options were not granted on the dates that were disclosed to shareholders and falsified the company's records to create the appearance of illegality, and thus bear direct responsibility for their actions.... Here, Jobs and the Individual Defendants clearly appreciated the fraudulent nature of their conduct." I suppose these sort of things, lawsuits like this, can go on and on, but a suit filed by the New York City Employee's Retirement System was dismissed back in 2007. Who can really say if this suit will be more or less successful? And what do these people really want to accomplish? I mean, what is the point of it all? There should come a time when such a determination is finalized and the issue become closed, and that there will be no more lawsuits. Will this go on forever? You can read more about the newest suit here:

WALL・E

How can those people at Pixar continue to make terrific movie after terrific movie? It really is astounding how consistent they are, and of course very pleasing, too. Their most recent, WALL・E, is another example of a thoroughly satisfying movie, with a heartwarming story and lovable characters. A few odd inconsistencies, but nothing seriously detracting. I once interviewed at Pixar for a position in their technical services team, basically a desktop support job, but didn't make it past a phone interview. I'm glad I got an interview at least, but it is a pity that I didn't have the skillset they were looking for. I still don't have a lot of Macintosh desktop support experience, but I think I would do better now that's something I could quite easily pick up. And to assist in making pictures like WALL・E, well, that would be wonderful.

The World's Coolest Car

I've found the car I want: the Honda FCX Clarity. A Prius would be nice, but the Prius isn't nearly as amazing as Honda's hydrogen powered FCX, a truly marvelous machine. A few hundred are now becoming available in southern California, in the cities of Torrance, Santa Monica and Irvine. I am very disappointed, as I am up north in San Francisco, but I probably shouldn't be. Although I desperately want to drive one, I honestly cannot afford one. They cost US$600 per month for a three-year closed-ended lease, and that is just too much for me. My 1989 Honda Prelude is rapidly wearing out and has over 260,000 miles on it, but $600 for a replacement is too rich for my pocket. Still, I can dream, dream about driving a car powered by hydrogen, one that Honda claims is twice as efficient as a hybrid-electric vehicle and three times more efficient than one with an old-fashioned, regular gasoline engine. The FCX uses a fuel cell to convert hydrogen into electricity which then charges a supplemental battery and also drives an electric motor. It emits only water vapor and heat using the most plentiful element in the universe! What a fantastic vehicle. I remember working on the technical documentation of a large fuel cell system designed by the leading fuel cell manufacturer in the United States. That was when I was back in graduate school, and I was highly impressed with the technology. That company built the fuel cells used by the Space Shuttle and had built power generation plants in the United States and around the world. And here I am seeing that technology built into a personal vehicle and for the home! You see, what Honda is doing is even better, because the company is working on a "Home Energy Station" that will sit in your garage and not only generate hydrogen for the car but also produce electricity and heat for the whole home. I mean, can you think of anything more exciting than this car and a power generation system to put in your garage? Honda is being very careful about who it leases these few cars to. Who could they be looking for? Technically savvy people? Good drivers who need to travel a fairly long way but within the 280 mile driving range? No, it sounds like move stars are getting them, not people like me. I drive almost 90 miles a day round-trip, and I sure wish I could get one.