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NEW YORK - Several options grants to top executives at Apple Computer Inc. were dated just before sharp increases in its stock between 1997 and 2001, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday, citing a review of regulatory filings.

In one instance in early 2001, Apple granted a total of 8 million, split-adjusted options to four of its top officers at the time, not including Chief Executive Steve Jobs, the report said.

The exercise price of the options was equal to the closing price of Apple's stock on January 17, 2001. After the market close on that day, Apple released quarterly earnings that cheered some analysts because the company had sharply cut inventories of computers on retailers' shelves, the paper reported.
This surprises me. While I've heard some pretty negative things (not from my my fellow MS employees) about Jobs over the years, Apple has always appeared pretty straight-up. Mind you, from my reading (and I know very little about this sort of thing) this could be completely legit. Time will (perhaps) tell.
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