Apple (delete Computer) is being investigated by the SEC for backdating executive stock options, including a major grant made to CEO Steve Jobs. There is no government commission, however, investigating the software industry's and Mr. Jobs's habit of backdating software releases, making it appear as if what is an inoperable or only partially functional program is really ready for the market.
In the early '90s, I was director of marketing for a Macintosh telecommunications software company that was porting its application to the Next. Jobs invited us and other Next developers to his launch of Next software apps at Davies Symphony Hall across from San Francisco's gold domed city hall.
In the circular foyer, where San Francisco's glitterati serenade in gowns and tuxedos, small tables were set up for Next developers to demonstrate their applications. The black Next computer subsumed the table, which was draped with a cloth descending to the carpet. Unbeknownst to the throng of reporters, investors, and Jobs enthusiasts, beneath many of these tables was a Macintosh computer that umbilically booted a Macintosh version of the software to the Next computer on top of the table, making it appear as if a full-fledged Next application were running.
Our one programmer assigned to the platform had not even come close to completing a Next version of our popular Macintosh program. Still, we proudly showed off the "Next" software on the Next as if it were ready for market. The stealth Macintosh running the Next was well hidden beneath the floor-length tablecloth.
I tried to get reporters to take a peek under the cloth, but no one took the bait. It's as if they needed to believe in Steve's hype (dare I say "lies?"), because he provided the fodder for their work. If they told they truth, they'd no longer have access to Next events and Steve Jobs. They'd only have the truth to write about.