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Two Apple directors may face outside option issues

A probe by directors of backdated stock option grants at Apple Computer involved two directors who may face options issues themselves, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.

Jerome York, one of the directors responsible for awarding some of the Apple options in question, recused himself from the three-member special committee's examination for the time he was involved.

The Journal also said Google chief executive Eric Schmidt is another member of Apple's special board committee investigating options that may be caught up in a separate options backdating probe at his prior company.

Schmidt was CEO at Novell between 1997 and 2001, part of a period that is the subject of an internal probe of possible options backdating issues, the paper said.

Schmidt only recently joined Apple's board, having been appointed in late August.

An Apple spokesman would only acknowledge to the Journal that its special board was made up of three members, but would not confirm their identities.

Meanwhile, one Wall Street analyst suspects former Apple chief financial officer, Fred Anderson, and former General Counsel, Nancy Heinen, as being two former executives who may have played a direct role in the company's own options scandal.