How Steve Jobs Threw Away $2.7 Billion

Steve Jobs, back in 2001, was granted a set of stock options which at the time Fortune magazine calculated were worth US$872M. But with Apple stock doing poorly in 2003, Mr. Jobs surrendered the options. Today, they would have been worth US$2.5B, according to a Fortune Magazine story Monday.

In fact, Mr. Jobs, in response to a Fortune cover story in 2001, and apparently losing his confidence, offered to sell those options to Fortune for half price. The author who also wrote the original story, Geoff Colvin, responded back then that while the offer was "potentially a good deal, Fortune isnit sufficiently capitalized at present to take advantage."

That wasnit the only stock option Mr. Jobs gave up. A second one he surrendered would have a current value of about US$1.1B. Later, in 2003, Mr. Jobs received, instead, restricted stock which is worth about $848M now. But if Mr Jobs had keep both his original grants, the total value today would have been about US$3.6B.

One way to look at it is a net loss of over US$2.7B.

The author cited some lessons learned. Sometimes seeming accomplished and confident CEOs lose faith in their abilities and make bad decisions. And when Steve Jobs offers his stock options for half price, hock the office furniture and take the deal.

That is, if one can see deep into the future.