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Thursday, April 21, 2005, 02:00 pm PT (05:00 pm ET)

Apple shareholders re-elect Board as Jobs slams environmentalists

At Apple Computer's annual shareholders meeting on Thursday CEO Steve Jobs took a swipe at Microsoft's upcoming “Longhorn” operating system and fired back at a group of environmentalists who recently attacked the company's policies on recycling.

As a first order of business, shareholders voted on resolutions, including the re-election of the current Board of Directors. According to a Yahoo News report, all current members of the board, including Fred Anderson, William Campbell, Millard Drexler, Al Gore, Steve Jobs, Arthur Levinson and Jerome York, were re-elected for another term.

Shareholders also voted on on a performance bonus plan, amendments to the employee stock option plan, and the ratification of independent auditors KPMG, according to the report. All passed the preliminary vote without comment from the shareholders, the report says.

On the other hand, a motion to implement a performance and time-based restricted share grant program for senior executives did not pass the preliminary vote.

Jobs also used the meeting to fire back at a group of environmentalists attacking Apple’s policies on recycling. Specifically, the group said Apple should collect unwanted computers at no cost, suggesting that PC makers like Dell and HP take back systems for free.

“There is a lot of inaccuracy here — I’ll give you an example. Dell and HP don’t do it for free,” said Jobs, who noted that Apple currently offers a program to recycle computers for $30. “HP charges $40 and Dell charges $20 — we are right in the middle. Apple has a really strong environmental policy."

Jobs went on to address the all of group’s charges one at a time, which included accusations that Apple uses prison or forced labor in the recycling programs, that it ships hazardous e-waste overseas, and that the iPod is a "time-bomb" for health and the environment because it contains toxic materials that will eventually wind up in incinerators or landfills.

Addressing the iPod charges, Jobs said there is a small amount of lead in the iPod but that the company was working to get that out. "To call the iPod an environmental time-bomb is just inexcusable,” he said.

During the question and answer session, Jobs was asked about the release of Mac OS X Tiger and Microsoft’s Longhorn operating system.

“They are shamelessly trying to copy us,” said Jobs. “I think the most telling thing is that Tiger will ship at the end of the month and Longhorn is still two years out. They can’t even copy fast,” Jobs said as the crowd cheered.

Additional details and a full list of Jobs' responses to the group of environmentalists is available in the Yahoo News report.