Let's make it clear upfront that I really like

Apple Computer

(AAPL) - Get Report

, as

I have written here before. But I'm not always convinced that the company has the common shareholder's best interest at heart.

How come?


take a look at Apple's newly filed 10-K. In the last few pages, management's compensation structure is discussed. While Apple is proud to point out that its chief executive, Steve Jobs, commanded only $1 in actual base salary this past year, there are some other bits of information you should be aware of.

For instance:

  • Steve Jobs' base salary might be only a buck. But he was granted an aircraft "for past services" worth approximately $90 million. Note: The plane was actually purchased by the company in 1999. And on delivery, it was recorded as a bonus (to him) in the 2000 proxy. However, because it was actually transferred to him personally in 2001, the company has since decided to record the plane and its costs as a bonus this year. And the 2000 proxy has since been amended.
  • Timothy Cook, Apple's senior vice president of operations, received a $500,000 bonus for "accepting the position of Senior Vice President, Worldwide Sales Service & Support in addition to holding the position of Senior Vice President, Operations."
  • Four top execs were each granted 1 million options exercisable at $16.81 apiece, which isn't too shabby considering the stock is currently north of $20.
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My point? Apple's stock has essentially been dead money for the past three years, and it would have been nice to see the company hold off on such sweet deals -- at least until the ship is clearly righted.

In keeping with TSC's editorial policy, Glenn Curtis doesn't own or short individual stocks. He also doesn't invest in hedge funds or other private investment partnerships. Under no circumstances does the information in this column represent a recommendation to buy or sell stocks. Curtis welcomes your