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Optical/IP

Meanwhile, Back at the SEC...

6:00 PM -- Yeah, but will it work in prison?

That's the question I'm tempted to ask about the flashy new iPhone, debuted by options-backdater Steve Jobs at Macworld in San Francisco. (See Apple Makes iPhone Call.)

Okay, okay, nobody has actually, like, proved anything against Jobs … well, except that a commission of attorneys hired by his own board established that the Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) CEO had approved backdated options grants for Apple employees, and that, oh yeah, he did receive in 2001 one eensy-weensy little options grant of oh, y'know, 7.5 million shares that were dated two months earlier, when the share price was almost three dollars lower -- meaning that, if you want to get all technical about it, Jobs got a $20 million gift that the company didn't quite, uhh, account for.

And, strictly speaking, Jobs remains under investigation by the feds -- although as Slate business writer Daniel Gross wrote yesterday, Jobs is far too lionized to risk being deposed as CEO, much less getting tossed in the slammer.

"Which junior federal prosecutor will recommend indicting the guy who smashed the PC monopoly?" Gross asked -- rhetorically, one imagines.

Wall Street analysts have projected that 20 percent of Apple's market cap, or around $16 billion, would instantly vaporize if Jobs were ousted.

Jobs is definitely looking slimmer these days in his trademark black mock-turtleneck and jeans than he did a few years ago. Could he be gearing up for doing situps in a 6-by-12 lockdown?

Hey, pretend I never mentioned it, okay?

— Richard Martin, Senior Editor, Unstrung

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