File this one under “duh”. With all of the commotion caused by Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ announcement earlier this month, it was only a matter of time before the SEC began looking into the matter. For those of you who have been living with the Fraggles for the past few months, allow us to recap the situation in one short series of sentence fragments: Jobs was sick. Apple denied Jobs was sick. Jobs admitted he was sick. As Stevo plays such an integral role in all things Apple, it’s a no-brainer that investors deserved to know what was going on.The question is, did Apple do anything illegal?
To bring any case, the SEC would probably have to show the company tried to benefit by withholding information about an unambiguous diagnosis, said Peter Henning, a former federal prosecutor and SEC lawyer who now teaches at Wayne State University Law School in Detroit.
“It would be difficult, and certainly a new area of the law,” Henning said. “You would have to pin down exactly what they knew, and with a health issue — unlike a merger or a decline in revenue — it’s not subject to definitive answers.”
While the SEC’s inquiry isn’t yet official, a source close to Bloomberg spilled the beans and you can expect official word to come soon as a result. Either way, it looks like the SEC will be treading on some new and tricky ground if its findings are worth pursuing.