Why? Well, for one, as Professor David Yermack pointed out to The Wall Street Journal,(subscription only), Apple's board admitted that there had been a problem with Mr. Jobs: "They have pretty much admitted that he was directly involved in a fraud."
The second, and more compelling issue is that Mr. Jobs got restricted shares for his backdated options. Although the options were turned back to the company and not exercised, he did have a gain. Or as Bill Alpert at Barron's writes: "Because Steve Jobs got his restricted shares in exchange for the backdated options (and some other options), I have trouble swallowing the Apple claim that Jobs got no benefit from the falsely valued options grant."
The board at Apple has good reason to do what it can to preserve the status of Jobs as CEO of Apple. Not so at the SEC and Justice Department.
Douglas A. McIntyre is a partner at 24/7 Wall St.