TV-PGFebruary 6, 2004: Apple CFO Fred Anderson is retiring in June-- but at least he's joining the board of directors. Meanwhile, Apple release a public beta of iChat AV which can video conference with Windows users via AIM, and still more evidence of a conspiracy to put Jobs in Mickey ears arises as former Disney director Stan Gold admits that Steve would be perfect for the job...
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From the writer/creator of AtAT, a Pandemic Dad Joke taken WAYYYYYY too far

Fred, Retire? Shyeah, Right (2/6/04)

Nnnnooooooo!! Say it ain't so, Fred; say it ain't so!

In case you haven't figured it out yet, we're still mired firmly in the Denial stage of grief regarding Apple's announcement that Fred "Fists of Fiscal Rage" Anderson is slated to retire from his long-held post as the company's Chief Financial Officer effective June 1st. When faithful viewer mrmgraphics first broke the news to us, we darn near choked to death on a Pop-Tart. (Yes, all three of us. On one Pop-Tart. That's how shocked we were.) That was roughly eighteen hours ago, but it's been a really busy day, so we're a little behind and still slogging through Denial; we're hoping that we ought to be able to catch up by powering through Anger, Bargaining, and Depression over the weekend to arrive fully at Acceptance by Monday. Provided there isn't much good on TV, of course.

And no, we don't go in for that "Reaching Out" stuff. Who has time for a sixth step in this workaday world? Heck, we might even skip Bargaining altogether, because we're really bad at haggling and it really never seems to get us anywhere. (Depression, on the other hand, we're really, really good at. Seriously, you should see our fetal positions. Top notch.)

That said, it's sort of hard to say anything about Fred's departure when we're still in Denial over the fact that he's leaving in the first place, which puts us in a bit of a pickle. We can say, however, that if Fred were ever to leave (as if), we'd be really sorry to see him go-- because even though he's "just the money guy," by virtue of his analyst conference calls every quarter, he's sneakily managed to become the Public Voice of Apple more than anyone in the company aside from Steve Himself. In such an unlikely scenario, we'd seriously miss his take on Apple's numbers every three months, and especially the way he manages to repeat the phrase "we don't comment on unannounced products" in response to dumb analyst questions about forty times in the space of half an hour while always remaining technically polite by just barely masking his contempt for the irretrievably stupid. Ah, good times.

Moreover, if Anderson were seriously going to retire on June 1st (yeah, right), we suppose we'd count our blessings and be thankful that at least we'd have one more Fredular conference call before he hypothetically left his post; maybe he'd go out with a bang during the Q&A and finally call some of those analysts by certain names Apple would have to bleep out in the QuickTime rebroadcast. And we'd also try to be optimistic about Fred's alleged replacement, Peter Oppenheimer, whom Apple has been "grooming" for the job for four years, now-- if it were true, which it's not, because nobody really plans things four years in advance. If they did, the fact that we can't schedule anything further out than dinnertime would imply that there's something wrong with us, which is, of course, utterly preposterous. Case closed.

But then again, if he were leaving (which he isn't), we could at least take solace in Apple's stated intention to stick Fred on the company's board of directors, where he could still do some good. We'll try to keep that in mind when we punch through Denial into Anger-- which would, of course, only occur if Fred were retiring in June, which he isn't, so we won't.

Sheesh, Denial is exhausting. We should have stretched first.

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See Ugly Windows Friends! (2/6/04)

So here's why we don't chew gum: it starts out great, everything's bursting with flavor, it's like there's a party in our mouths and everyone's invited, etc. etc. etc. and then BAM, in about four minutes and totally out of nowhere, the flavor's gone and we're just chomping down repeatedly on some sort of bland rubber-like substance. And frankly, the effort of going to the store, picking a brand/type/flavor of gum from the zillions on display, spending hard-earned cash on said gum, and then actually unwrapping it and chewing it... well, it just doesn't seem worth it for four minutes of flavor and then the pointless and incessant rubber-chomping routine.

There's also the distressingly unnatural aspect of chewing something without actually eating it, but that's probably a neurosis thingy we can get past in therapy someday. The flavor problem, though, is here to stay; ain't no shrink makin' our Juicy Fruit stay juicy and fruity forever. It's like a law of thermodynamics or something.

Which brings us to iChat. (Ha! Didn't see that coming, didja?) See, it's like this: Apple software updates are a lot like gum, because the flavor can fade pretty quickly, leaving you reaching for another stick of the proverbial Fruit Stripe. Odds are that you downloaded Safari 1.2 a few days back and were giggling like a schoolgirl while tabbing to links for three days straight, but now the software has already lost its flavor and become just another browser to use. Simply put, You Need New Gum.™

Well, lucky you, because Apple is offering you a stick: faithful viewer Elliot informed us that the company has just released the iChat AV 2.1 Public Beta for free download, which should be enough gum to get you at least through the weekend-- provided that you've got a FireWire camera, a broadband connection, and Wintel-using friends with webcams and the latest version of AIM. Apparently the solitary new feature in iChat AV 2.1 is "support for video conferencing with the AOL Instant Messenger 5.5 for Microsoft Windows," so it's not going to be any different from the current release version of iChat unless it can put you in touch with a few buddies who just happen to embrace the Dark Side of the Force. If you've got the connections, though, have at it.

However, if there are no Wintellians in your little black book whose mugs you want to stare at, fret not; the Public Beta of iChat AV 2.1 can still provide you with hours of flavor as a spur to righteous indignation! Because, see, just like Safari 1.2, this software requires "Mac OS X v10.3 or later," whereas there's a release version of iChat AV that's most certainly compatible with Jaguar, even though you have to pay for it. So if the last Safari update's Panther-Onlyness got you up in arms, hey, here's something else to complain about! Score!

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Evidence Keeps Mounting (2/6/04)

And the conspiracy just keeps getting clearer and clearer! They called us mad at the university when we sought to reanimate the sutured flesh of the recently deceased-- and, well, okay, they were right about that one. (Lightning... What were we thinking?) But they also called us mad when we hinted that Steve Jobs's oh-so-public scuttling of the Disney-Pixar contract negotiations was deliberately timed as part of an elaborate conspiracy to pry Michael Eisner out of Disney's CEO spot, and the evidence on that one just keeps on piling deeper and deeper.

To refresh your memories, here's a quick rundown of what we know so far: a few months back, Walt's nephew Roy Disney got booted from the company's board of directors when Eisner pulled a maneuver with some "expected retirement age" clause that allegedly didn't even apply to Roy's position. Fellow board member Stan Gold resigned in disgust. There was a hint of solidarity between Stan/Roy and Steve Jobs when Stan told the press that Eisner had called both him and Steve "Shiite Muslims" as a derogatory term.

Throughout all this, Steve remained in negotiations for a Pixar-Disney contract renewal in 2006. Negotiations had proceeded for ten months when, suddenly, Steve announced to the world that Pixar and Disney were history, and Pixar was taking its ridiculously successful filmmaking talent elsewhere, depriving Disney of billions of dollars of future profit. Interestingly enough, Steve's announcement came just days after Stan and Roy had called for investors to oust Eisner at the next shareholders' meeting in March-- and right on the heels of Steve's announcement, the two issued a joint statement using the failed Pixar talks as evidence that Eisner had to go.

Suspicious, right? Just a little? As if there's some sort of collusion between Steve and Stan/Roy to try to get Eisner tossed out on his ear, to clear the CEO spot for... whom? Well, as faithful viewer Victor points out, the New York Post fits yet another massive piece of the puzzle into place: "Stanley Gold and Roy Disney think Steven Jobs, the renowned boss of Apple Computer and Pixar, would be just dandy as the head of Walt Disney Cos." Apparently when pressed on the matter, Stan stated that "Steve Jobs would absolutely be one of" the people he believes can run the company.

Of course, Stan denies that he's approached Steve about taking the job, and claims that Steve's never asked for it, either, but c'mon, what's he supposed to say? "Sure, Steve and Roy and I cooked up this whole crafty scheme in the treehouse one afternoon during our weekly meeting of the We Hate Eisner club"? Not likely. But with the revelations coming fast and furious, now, it's only a matter of time before the press stumbles upon a copy of the trio's detailed twelve-point outline of Project Oustketeer, complete with diagrams. (Eisner's the stick figure with the wavy stink lines.)

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