Attendees at this week’s QuickTime Live Conference in Beverly Hills almost unanimously expressed their belief that the conference would have been better had Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide Product Marketing, Phil Schiller, exercised his Fifth Amendment rights.
Mark Wallace, a 37-year-old video production engineer, indicated that Schiller’s on-stage presence, or lack thereof, was a primary factor behind the conclusion of the attendees. “Let’s just say Phil’s no Steve (Jobs),” Wallace said. “Steve could sell crack to the Amish if he wanted, but Phil… sheesh.”
Beth Myers, a 32-year-old media consultant, agreed with Wallace. “There’s no real reason Phil has to speak at these events,” Myers noted. “If (Enron CEO) Ken Lay doesn’t have to speak before Congress, why should Schiller have to speak here? Why doesn’t he just plead the Fifth, too?”
Computer industry and legal experts believe Schiller could invoke his rights under the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution under the argument that Schiller’s own lack of presentation ability could be construed as bearing “witness against himself.”
“I’d certainly support that,” Myers added. “I was jabbing myself with a pen to stay awake.”
24-year-old web designer Miguel Rojas suggested alternative solutions. “Maybe he could file a report and we could just read it,” Rojas said. “Or, Apple could hire someone like Jeff Goldblum to deliver the presentation. Or that dancing guy from the iPod ad. I’ve never heard him speak but he’s got to be better.”
Apple PR representative Cynthia McLaren acknowledged a problem with Schiller’s presentation style, but said the Apple VP has no intentions of exercising his Fifth Amendment rights in lieu of fulfilling “a very important part of his duties.”
“He’s gone to some classes,” McLaren confided, “But nothing really seems to take. He’s signed up for acting camp this summer. Maybe that will help.”
Other strategies Apple has tried to improve Schiller’s presentations include singing lessons, a membership with Toastmasters International, and having him practice in front of a mirror.