FORTUNE — It’s not exactly on point, but reading Ben Popper’s piece on Carl Icahn in the Verge this weekend brought to mind a Steve Jobs Q&A from May 1997 — a few months after his return to Apple (AAPL) — when someone asked: “Steve, what do we do about the press?”
Jobs spoke for nearly two minutes before he got to the punch line:
It’s fun watching Jobs tell the Apple development community — four years before the iPod and ten before the iPhone — to keep its eye on the prize: building great products.
Isn’t that what Tim Cook’s been saying since 2011?
Popper’s Icahn piece is also fun, and it helps move the Icahn v. Cook story forward:
- It reminds us where Icahn got his billions (e.g. the looting and subsequent bankruptcy of TWA).
- It explains what’s different — and what’s not — about Icahn’s accelerated stock buyback scheme.
- It has launched a lively debate in the Verge’s comment stream around the proposition — put forward by a Verge reader — that “the fundamental purpose” of a public company like Apple “is to provide risk adjusted returns to its owners.”
That would be the position of a “shareholder activist,” which is what Carl Icahn calls himself these days.