Global CIO: A Secret Letter To Apple's Steve Jobs From Senator Schumer

In which our unctuous politician, giddy over the Antennagate axing of an Apple exec, sends a followup letter loaded with advice for his new BFF.
1) "I write to express concern regarding the reception problem with the Apple iPhone 4 . . . ." Just because I didn't spend any of my own money to get my drawerful of iPhones, that doesn't mean the crappy reception is any less painful to me, does it? I'm telling you, Steve, in the business I'm in, I rub elbows with plenty of shady characters, and so I keep thinking your Antennagate scandal goes wide and deep and ugly. In fact, can you have your compliance people start to plan that "temporary reset" of the entire iPhone 4 business I've mentioned above? And Stevie, I swear to you—15 months and not a day more—a year and half at the outside and we'll be done and your company won't miss a beat—in fact, the public will love you even more for making them wait for two years for the next upgrade!

2) "I believe it is incumbent upon Apple to address this flaw in a transparent manner." So here's my thought—and don't think of it so much as an order as just a very wise and good idea you'll be glad you complied with: I see that your net worth has risen pretty nicely as Apple's share price has soared, and my staff tells me Apple has more than $40 billion in cash just sitting in the bank--just sitting there, Steve, waiting for an elected official to put it to good use! And here's the good and "transparent" use you and I are going to put it to: You contribute $100 million of your own money (trust me, Stevuhluh, with next year's tax increases, I'm doing you a favor!) and have Apple put in $400 million (barely 1% of your stash!) and that half a billion will fund the "Schumer Center for Corporate Transparency." Of course we can't tell anyone what we'll do with that starter fund, but the larger point is we'll be living the transparency "meme."

3) "I am concerned that the nearly two million purchasers of the iPhone 4 may not have complete information about the quality of the product they have purchased." So here's another mandat—er, suggestion: take just another piddling 2.5% of that $40 billion cash stash (and Stevie, have you checked with your legal people on the legality of that horde? My instincts tell me it's gotta be illegal for a private company with that kinda loot to just sit on it), and that'd be barely a billion, and send a $500 check to each of those 2 million victims you hornswoggled—we'll call the checks, "Chuck Schumer Restitution Grants For Apple Victims." It's a win-win-win: the victims get a little something for the troubles, you get publicity you couldn't buy for 10 times that amount, and I get—well, that's not really the point now, is it?

4) "I also encourage Apple to keep its promise to provide free software updates . . . ." Stevie, I'm just bouncing some things off the flagpole here, but that old idea of mine doesn't go far enough. Updates schmupdates: I want us to make Apple the home of free software from top to bottom—give it all away for nothing! We'll start a campaign and call it "Apple B Free" and we'll get that old basketball player with the name like that to tell the world that all of Apple's software is free, all the time. Your financial people can claim it all as a writeoff—we'll tuck that into the next banking bill, and you have my word on that.

5) "I further urge Apple to issue a written explanation of the formula it uses . . . ." Stevie—and by the way, can I have a couple of your turtlenecks? I was thinking of maybe migrating my wardrobe over to the jeansie-and-black-turtleneckie thing, kinda like what you do so that when we go on the road together to announce all this, and when our TV and Tweeter ads hit, we'll look like twins! So anyway, this "written explanation" thing: I'd like us at the next board meeting to announce that we're rewriting the rules for "written explanations" and we're releasing all of Apple's source code—I mean, c'mon, my IT people tell me that information yearns to be free, right? And the world will love you even more than they do now if you just let everybody, all those entrepreneurs, take your software stuff for free so they can build iCars and iShirts and and iKetchup and all kinds of things that you and your little close-minded, keep-all-the-money-for-us team never would've dreamed up! The key, Stevie boy, is you gotta think big—and that's what I do: I think big. B-I-G.

6) "I look forward to Apple’s swift action on this matter . . . ." So lots of detail here and I know you have your detail people to handle that but I've gone ahead and put this all into a contract (I don't exactly want to call it a "bill") that your legal people can review. Since we're promising "swift action" then I'm thinking that since we've agreed on the big stuff, we should be able to get this done in time for the start of the NFL season so we can blitz the airwaves on opening day—you, me, turtlenecks, free everything, Schumer Grants, the Transparency Foundation, and the whole thing. And to help you apply to this the sense of urgency that I know you would have applied anyway, I've "seeded" ("leaked" is an ugly word, don't you think?) copies of this letter among the media so they'll know what you're up to.

So, my own little private Stevie Wonder business partner of mine, let me close this heart-felt letter with the same words I used in my earlier and equally heart-felt letter, in which I said I "once again laud Apple for its innovative efforts and service to millions of Americans." Because under the terms of my new legislation—the "Schumer Apple People's Strategy" (or SAPS for short)—you'll be performing far more services for far more millions with all your billions than you ever thought possible!

Hugs and snuggles, Stevie!! (And you do have the address for my campaign fund, don't you?)

Your friend and business partner,

Chuck "The Senator" Schumer (D., NY)


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GlobalCIO Bob Evans is senior VP and director of InformationWeek's Global CIO unit.

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