Ben Popper

Video: Steve Jobs on the press and Apple's stock price

February 9, 2014: 3:55 PM ET

Words to remember in advance of the Feb. 28 vote on Carl Icahn's shareholder proposal.

Icahn. Illustration: The Verge

Icahn. Illustration: The Verge

FORTUNE -- It's not exactly on point, but reading Ben Popper's piece on Carl Icahn in the Verge this weekend brought to mind a Steve Jobs Q&A from May 1997 -- a few months after his return to Apple (AAPL) -- when someone asked: "Steve, what do we do about the press?"

Jobs spoke for nearly two minutes before he got to the punch line:

'The press and the stock price will take care of themselves."

It's fun watching Jobs tell the Apple development community -- four years before the iPod and ten before the iPhone -- to keep its eye on the prize: building great products.

Isn't that what Tim Cook's been saying since 2011?

Popper's Icahn piece is also fun, and it helps move the Icahn v. Cook story forward:

  • It reminds us where Icahn got his billions (e.g. the looting and subsequent bankruptcy of TWA).
  • It explains what's different -- and what's not -- about Icahn's accelerated stock buyback scheme.
  • It has launched a lively debate in the Verge's comment stream around the proposition -- put forward by a Verge reader -- that "the fundamental purpose" of a public company like Apple "is to provide risk adjusted returns to its owners."

That would be the position of a "shareholder activist," which is what Carl Icahn calls himself these days.

The attached 2-minute video clip is taken from a 6:30 minute excerpt I posted a couple years ago. If you want the full one-hour WWDC presentation, it's available here.

LINK: Carl Icahn 2.0: an icon of '80s greed is back to shake up Silicon Valley

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