Apple's board defends Jobs in stock options case

Apple's board has publicly defended chief executive Steve Jobs against allegations by a former executive about his involvement in stock options backdating.

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Apple's board has publicly defended chief executive Steve Jobs against allegations by a former executive about his involvement in stock options backdating.

The defence came as the company posted strong second quarter results, with profits up 88% on the same quarter a year ago.

Fred Anderson, Apple's former chief financial officer, settled with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charges that he violated securities laws for his role in backdating stock options. He agreed to pay a fine and pay back $3.5m (£1.7m).

But Anderson blamed the backdating on Jobs. Anderson had "cautioned" Jobs that backdated options had to be approved by the board of directors, and relied on Jobs' assurances that had happened, Anderson's lawyer Jerome Roth said.

Apple has now lined up seven directors to say Jobs cooperated fully with their internal investigation as well as with that carried out by the SEC.

"We are not going to enter into a public debate with Fred Anderson or his lawyer," the directors said in a statement. "The SEC investigated the matter thoroughly and its complaint speaks for itself, in terms of what it says, what it does not say, who it charges, and who it does not charge.

"We have complete confidence in the conclusions of Apple's independent investigation, and in Steve's integrity and his ability to lead Apple."

Nancy Heinen, Apple's former general counsel, has been charged by the SEC for her role in the backdating case but will fight the charges in court..

Apple reported profits of $770m (£385m) on revenuea of $5.26bn (£2.63bn) for the second quarter of its financial year, up 88% from on the same quarter a year ago the quarter a year ago.

The company sold 1.5m Macintosh computers and 10.5m iPod music and video players in the quarter, up 39% and 24% respectively, year on year.

Apple anticipates third quarter revenuea of about $5bn (£2.5bn) chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer said.

The third quarter, ending 30 June, may include sales of the forthcoming iPhone wireless handheld unveiled by Jobs at Macworld in January. The company has said the phone would ship in late June.

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