True believers made the pilgrimage to Silicon Valley on May 10, as both Apple (AAPL) and Google (GOOG) held their annual meetings. The companies’ fervent supporters turned out en masse. It took Google CEO Eric Schmidt a mere five seconds to get a round of applause as he opened his shareholder meetingâ€”and all he had to do was mention the lunch Google had served.
Heretics were in the crowd too, however. Some shareholders have become sharply critical of Google and Apple for practices that have recently become public. Apple and its CEO, Steve Jobs, have come under fire for the timing of stock options awards, while Google and Schmidt have taken criticism for the company’s policies regarding censorship in China. Never mind that both CEOs have annual base salaries of only $1 (see BusinessWeek.com, 5/10/07, “The Elite Circle of $1 CEOs”).
The buzz among bloggers and others on the Web was over the rifts that surfaced at the annual meetings.