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Apple Appoints Al Gore To Board Of Directors

Apple Appoints Al Gore To Board Of Directors

by , 5:20 PM EST, March 19th, 2003

In a surprising, as well as fascinating move, Apple has named former vice president Al Gore to its Board of Directors. The press release for the company specifically cites the record economic expansion during Mr. Gore's second term, his track record with supporting technology -- specifically the Internet, and the fact that Mr. Gore uses a Mac and Final Cut Pro as reasons for the appointment.

Al Gore has often taken heat in the press, and from regular people alike, for having claimed to invent the Internet. In reality, of course, Mr. Gore never made such a claim, but had instead claimed to have been the Senator who helped get government funding for Internet-related technologies during the formative years. He also helped usher through Internet-related legislation in Congress while Vie President. The stigma of having made a claim he did not actually make has managed to stick, however.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs was known to be close to the Bill Clinton White House, with both President and former President Clinton having stayed at Steve Jobs' home in Palo Alto. Mr. Jobs is known to have a fondness for the Democratic party, as well.

In light of the unusualness of this announcement, we are including the entire press release, including the fluff quotes:

Apple today announced that Albert Gore Jr., the former Vice President of the United States, has joined the Company's Board of Directors. Mr. Gore was elected at Apple's board meeting today.

"Al brings an incredible wealth of knowledge and wisdom to Apple from having helped run the largest organization in the world -- the United States government -- as a Congressman, Senator and our 45th Vice President. Al is also an avid Mac user and does his own video editing in Final Cut Pro," said Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO. "Al is going to be a terrific Director and we're excited and honored that he has chosen Apple as his first private sector board to serve on."

"Steve and his team have done an incredible job in making Apple once again the very best in the world," said former Vice President Al Gore. "I have been particularly impressed with the new Mac OS X operating system and the company's commitment to the open source movement. And I am especially looking forward to working with and learning from the great board members who have guided this legendary company's inspiring resurgence."

Mr. Gore was inaugurated as the 45th Vice President of the United States on January 20, 1993. He was re-elected in 1996, and helped lead the U.S. into the longest period of sustained economic growth in American history. He served for a total of eight years as President of the Senate, a member of the cabinet and the National Security Council, and as the leader of a wide range of Administration initiatives including environmental policy, technology, science, communications and government cost reduction.

As a member of the U.S. Congress 25 years ago, he popularized the term "Information Superhighway," and was instrumental in fighting for federal funds to assist in building what later became the Internet. He has remained an active leader in technology -- launching a public/private effort to wire every classroom and library in America to the Internet.

Mr. Gore serves as a Senior Advisor to Google, Inc. He is also a visiting professor at the University of California Los Angeles, Fisk University and Middle Tennessee State University.

Mr. Gore received his B.A. in Government with honors from Harvard University in 1969, and attended the Vanderbilt University School of Religion and the Vanderbilt University School of Law.

There is, as yet, no reaction from Wall Street on the appointment.

The Mac Observer Spin:

This is indeed fascinating. Certainly Steve Jobs is making a political statement with the appointment, as well as the press release. Specifically, the paragraph mentioning the "longest period of sustained economic growth in American history" is a direct comment on our current economic woes. It remains to be seen how the geek public and Wall Street -- the only two groups likely to care about this appointment -- will react, but we honestly expect a hailstorm of criticism, especially from those who don't share Steve Jobs' fondness for the Democratic party.

What will be interesting will be those who illustrate their desire for Apple not to have political opinions by expressing their own political opinions. It's definitely going to be interesting.

Here's the meat of this appointment, however: It's about politics. Al Gore brings with him a lifetime of political experience, at a time when politics and technology are steadily becoming more and more interwoven. From attacks on Fair Use to legislation that would require all hardware to contain copy protection hardware to the DMCA, savvy tech companies such as Apple, Sun, Intel, Microsoft, and a host of others have learned that they need to be investing in a serious Washington DC presence for the first time ever. Al Gore's presence on Apple's Board could well be a help for the company in seeking a favorable path through the confines of Capital Hill.

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