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Unrest boils at annual shareholder meeting, but things remain civil

Apple, Inc. (AAPL) CEO Tim Cook won reelection to Apple's Board of Directors by a 99.1 percent vote.  Apple is enjoying record profitability and is rumored to be working on a new project -- a smart watch.

I. Cook Acknowledges Disappointing Share Prices Amid Lawsuit

And yet share prices have been on a downward slide, dipping as "low" as $435 USD per share in recent weeks.  Some investors are worried that future Apple products won't be as big hits as the iPhone and iPad; others are angry that Apple is sitting on $137B USD in cash and securities, yet is failing to grow share buyback and dividends at an equivalent pace.

At the annual shareholder meeting, Tim Cook tried to placate his critics, arguing he was as mad as the next guy about low share prices.  He comments, "I don't like it either. The board doesn't like it. The management team doesn't like it.  What we are focused on is the long term. This has always been a secret of Apple."

Tim Cook
Tim Cook claims he shares shareholders pain about dropping stock prices.
[Image Source: Bloomberg]

Such a frank acknowledgement still sounds strange coming from Apple.  Mr. Cook's predecessor, the late Steve Jobs typically would refuse to apologize for anything.  By contrast, since taking the reins, Mr. Cook has been "all apologies" as the Nirvana song goes.

In a way that makes sense.  Mr. Cook himself was awarded one million restricted stock units last year (worth around $450M USD at current share prices); that fortune is hurt by low share prices, but could be boosted if share prices go back on the uphill climb.

However, top shareholder David Einhorn, who manages Greenlight Capital Re., Ltd. (GLRE), made a powerful statement by refusing to show up at the meeting.  Last Friday his firm scored an injunction invalidating a shareholder vote to scrap a proposal for Apple to issue preferred stock at its discretion.

Mr. Einhorn is pressuring Apple to "share the love", so to speak, by issuing preferred stock shares that would yield a fixed 4 percent annual dividend.  He claims his so-called "iPref" proposal would reward Apple's investors with more profit sharing, while not diluting the primary pool of shares.

II. Shareholders Stay Civil, But Send a Message to Apple

Shareholders flexed their muscle on other issues as well.  The shareholders ratified a proposal that would force Apple executives to hold more stock, which could push them to share more profit.  They also passed a measure that will force the company to commit a board committee on human rights, which will investigate allegations of abuse at the factories that make Apple products in China.  Apple opposed both proposals.

On the same note, Apple many shareholders voted against a pay raise for top executives, including Tim Cook.

California Public Employees Retirement System (CPERS), a large institutional Apple investor, voiced support for Mr. Einhorn's iPrefs proposal -- also known among shareholders as "Proposal 2".  Senior Portfolio Manager Anne Simpson said it was unfortunate that the issue was not put to a vote at the meeting.  She is quoted as saying, "We know there is hot debate going on with cash.  We are willing and happy to wait."

David Einhorn
Top Apple shareholder David Einhorn (manager of Greenlight Capital) is leading a push to force Apple to open up its treasure chest. [Image Source: Value Walk]

Tim Cook acknowledged the measure was being considered, while arguing that Mr. Einhorn's lawsuit to force the issue was a "silly sideshow".

While the mood was tense during the meeting, it remained mostly civil and there were moments of levity.  One shareholder pointed out that the Santa Clara, California Apple store lacked a bathroom.  Tim Cook agreed that was a problem and promised to look into it.

Sources: Reuters, Forbes



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Seriously
By MechanicalTechie on 2/28/2013 8:58:25 PM , Rating: 5
I'm sooooooooooo bored of Apple!!!




RE: Seriously
By retrospooty on 2/28/2013 9:48:28 PM , Rating: 5
Ya, enough already. At first, its irritating in a douchy way, like listening to Federline... Then it gets ugly with the lawsuits, and actually intices anger at the hippocracy, but ay this point, its just done. Yawn... Everything they say and do and release... Yawn.


RE: Seriously
By superstition on 2/28/13, Rating: -1
RE: Seriously
By MechanicalTechie on 2/28/2013 10:43:33 PM , Rating: 4
It's not just here.. its every news outlet... Apple farts and its front page news... surely you can see the media saturation.


RE: Seriously
By superstition on 2/28/13, Rating: -1
RE: Seriously
By MechanicalTechie on 2/28/2013 10:58:57 PM , Rating: 2
It is not just Dailytech... I guarantee Apples gets more column space that other more interesting/relevant subject matter.. surely you can see this.


RE: Seriously
By B3an on 2/28/2013 11:17:52 PM , Rating: 2
I completely agree with you. But i was already sick of all the Apple coverage years ago. Couldn't be any less interested. To avoid this i've started going to a few news sites where each report mostly on a specific company.

It's a shame there isn't a site that reports on everything tech related but does not cover Apple. I'm know i'm not alone here at all, i'm sure a site like that would get a ton of hits.


RE: Seriously
By exanimas on 3/1/2013 10:27:48 AM , Rating: 5
If you go on Engadget, you can actually add /exclude/apple to the end of the URL and not see anything tagged with Apple. Favorite that page and baby, you got yourself a stew going. :)


RE: Seriously
By Mitch101 on 3/3/2013 9:50:04 AM , Rating: 4
Agree if you had one person mention Apple your conversation was dominated with all Apple talk now its but a whisper and they are either in denial or you can hear the retreat in their voice as they know there are products on the market that rival them or are flat out better. The confidence that Apple was way ahead of everyone is gone to but a few fans. I just read an article that Apple tablet sales are starting to slide in market share which now you have iphone 5 sales warnings, tablet sales warnings, and now you have comparable products at nearly half the price of Apple in an economic recession. Im a huge fan of Microsoft but I use an Android tablet and like it. I especially love that I get all the functionality I want without the hefty price. This is why I think Microsoft failed with Surface RT because the price should have been $300 or less at $500 for RT its not smart. Im also not sure I need another tablet either I don't want to play crisis on my phone or tablet. I want to play words with friends or something along those lines if I was to play graphic intensive games and get serious I want to do it on my PC.

BTW Windows Phone is now 3.1% in the US. Doesn't sound like much but market share is increasing now even in the USA.

I personally believe Android has the best Tablet OS just have to get a good hardware manufacturer. I still believe Microsoft has the best Phone OS and to me personally again the Nokia 920 is a slightly better device than the Samsung Galaxy S3. But were about to go another round so hit the reset button. To me if your considering an iPhone your old and looking for an entry level smartphone if your more serious your looking for the next Samsung with android or the nokia pureview camera for windows phone.


RE: Seriously
By Tony Swash on 3/3/13, Rating: -1
RE: Seriously
By bug77 on 3/3/2013 5:09:01 PM , Rating: 3
Right, so declining share price is not a sign of floundering. I guess I've just learnt something new today.


RE: Seriously
By Tony Swash on 3/4/13, Rating: -1
RE: Seriously
By 91TTZ on 3/4/13, Rating: 0
RE: Seriously
By TakinYourPoints on 3/1/2013 3:50:06 AM , Rating: 2
Pretty much. I go into some video card or case thread, dead zone. You figure people would love to talk about some cool PC parts but nope, hardly anything at all.

You go into a troll Apple, environment, or car thread and its all the same chuckleheads. Not a lot of tech talk from most of the DT usuals, mostly just fanboy cheerleading for cheap technology.

If it didn't get so many hits then you wouldn't see as many stories, simple. Websites run on ad revenue.


RE: Seriously
By TSS on 3/1/2013 5:46:32 AM , Rating: 5
well it's our own fault really. It is still a tech savvy website, how many of you are running ad blocker huh?

I've never run ad blocker in my life. Yet i haven't clicked on a single ad either, cause i know what type of ads there are and i avoid them like everybody else.

So they have to run on page hits, and tech articles simply get less page hits. Especially now that anandtech has it's "pipeline" articles handling all the technical stuff. To be truthfull, if anandtech took off the news ticker to DT at the side i'd stop coming here after a short while.

So that basically leaves social stuff. Economics, politics, venting etc. And that only because i've been coming here since the beginning so it's more of a habit.

Don't get me wrong, i miss the good old technical discussions that might've talked about the same things but atleast went deep into the info. I really miss Michael asher to counteract Jason's banter. Maybe jason's articles had piss poor quality atleast they dragged the best out of Masher.

Jason's improved in quality but not enough to replace masher yet. I definitly like the path he's taken lately with the more protest type of articles(keep it up it's amongst your best work), it's about time. But Tiffany's even worse then jason was when he started out, no point discussing the facts when the article's rewritten wrong and i have to continually look up the damn source article. if i wanted to do that, i'd never come here in the first place.

So DT's kinda caught in a twilight zone right now. Personally, i'd like to see the site turn itself around and revamp itself. Get a new layout (that's been the same since the start >5 years ago if you can belive it!), and make it a more "general news" type of site. Keep the tech section but make it part of many other sections.

It needs to be rebuilt around it's strongest part: the people who still discuss stuff here. Say what you want about hits and baiting discussion, there are still many discussions going on still with very good points and information, even if the topics are getting a bit stale.

I'd say this site could still be turned around if it's rebuilt and the articles rewritten to specifically engage the public more, rather then a simple rewrite and regurgitate newssite.

When that doesn't happen... well then the site will just wither and die like so many other sites. Probably at the point where anandtech decides the space for links on his site is better utilized for other things.


RE: Seriously
By NellyFromMA on 3/1/2013 1:14:40 PM , Rating: 2
Honestly, I only come here because I check Anand. I strongly wish Anand would repurpose the links, even for another - better - tech news site.

It's odd to go from Anand's very in-depth articles to these seemingly arguement-inducing articles where commenters become mortally offended by tech-enthusiasts engaging in any sort of intellectual discussion that strays from what the few trolls demand must be true when often its just cheerleading.

I like tech for tech. Microsoft doesn't get an auto-greenlight from me nor does Google Apple or anyone else. I have a preference based on my experience and your mileage may vary. So what.

Also, I wish taxes would go away. We'll see which happens first.


RE: Seriously
By TakinYourPoints on 3/1/2013 10:52:17 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Honestly, I only come here because I check Anand. I strongly wish Anand would repurpose the links, even for another - better - tech news site.


Same here. I've said it many times, its like The Economist running side columns by The National Enquirer. With a comment section seemingly sourced by Drudge Report. :/

quote:
It's odd to go from Anand's very in-depth articles to these seemingly arguement-inducing articles where commenters become mortally offended by tech-enthusiasts engaging in any sort of intellectual discussion that strays from what the few trolls demand must be true when often its just cheerleading.


Yes, and the difference is huge.

quote:
I like tech for tech. Microsoft doesn't get an auto-greenlight from me nor does Google Apple or anyone else. I have a preference based on my experience and your mileage may vary. So what.


Goddammit, absolutely 1000%, yes. I wish I had votes to give, +6 for this.


RE: Seriously
By Scrogneugneu on 3/1/2013 11:40:13 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Honestly, I only come here because I check Anand. I strongly wish Anand would repurpose the links, even for another - better - tech news site.


Amen.

I sometimes wonder if I can tell who comes from AT and who comes straight for DT, just by looking at the depth of the comments.


RE: Seriously
By TakinYourPoints on 3/1/2013 10:56:54 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Especially now that anandtech has it's "pipeline" articles handling all the technical stuff.


That started long after DT settled into tabloid trolling for cheap hits. I believe AT started Pipeline to fill a gap in technical news that DT wasn't fulfilling.

quote:
To be truthfull, if anandtech took off the news ticker to DT at the side i'd stop coming here after a short while.


No question.


RE: Seriously
By retrospooty on 3/1/2013 8:57:03 AM , Rating: 5
"all the same chuckleheads"

Sounds funny coming from one of the primary chuckleheads. ;)


RE: Seriously
By TakinYourPoints on 3/1/2013 10:54:09 PM , Rating: 2
http://xkcd.com/386/

Yup, guilty, but someone has to tell mindless cheerleading trolls why they're wrong! ;)

I so wish this place wasn't on the Anandtech sidebar, haha


RE: Seriously
By retrospooty on 3/1/2013 11:50:00 PM , Rating: 2
Me too. It's addicting, and i kind of feel guilty about it...
Anandtech has been my start page for 14 years. Damn. Its been there from Netscape Navigator, to Communicator, to IE, to Opera to Firefox and now Chrome... but if Dailytech were gone from Anandtech, I wouldnt see, nor care to check anything at dailytech at all.


RE: Seriously
By Reclaimer77 on 3/1/2013 4:15:19 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Pretty much. I go into some video card or case thread, dead zone. You figure people would love to talk about some cool PC parts but nope, hardly anything at all.


Well honestly, when is the last time a new video card or case actually interested you? I think the last big "WoW" in video cards was, what, the 9700 Pro? I mean something that wasn't just an iteration of last week's thing, with a bit more FPS or throughput.

We're jaded, completely.

quote:
You go into a troll Apple, environment, or car thread and its all the same chuckleheads.


*Sniff* hmmm.. *sniff* yup, picking up a strong scent of butthurt here.

Now go do what you do best, and fill us in on the latest Apple stock analysis and profit reports. Cause you and Tony constantly going there is REALLY awesome stuff in a tech discussion. Nothing gets the motor revving like finances, am I right?


RE: Seriously
By TakinYourPoints on 3/1/2013 10:47:01 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Well honestly, when is the last time a new video card or case actually interested you? I think the last big "WoW" in video cards was, what, the 9700 Pro? I mean something that wasn't just an iteration of last week's thing, with a bit more FPS or throughput.

We're jaded, completely.


You're jaded, I'm still totally into all this stuff.

quote:
*Sniff* hmmm.. *sniff* yup, picking up a strong scent of butthurt here.


Not at all, its just funny how so many people here are all about the drama rather than things that actually matter. You practically thrive on it, but maybe its the Italian part of you that needs it, idk. ;)


RE: Seriously
By xti on 3/2/2013 11:46:40 AM , Rating: 2
its a really biased tech site...you wanted actual sensible people?...pretty much any other website would get you that.


RE: Seriously
By Reclaimer77 on 3/3/2013 8:39:45 AM , Rating: 2
Takin is the like the kid who enjoys horseplay with the rest of them, then when an adult shows up goes "hey you guys, come on, don't do that stuff".

I mean he engages in this stuff routinely, then criticized DT for it lol.

I actually like the guy a lot though. He's one of the reasons people keep coming back. Daily Tech has great characters :)


RE: Seriously
By TakinYourPoints on 3/4/2013 9:42:14 AM , Rating: 2
All comes down to this: http://xkcd.com/386/

And yes, it is a COLOSSAL waste of time correcting random strangers when they're wrong. ;)

*kisses*


RE: Seriously
By Tony Swash on 3/1/13, Rating: -1
RE: Seriously
By superstition on 3/1/2013 5:49:20 PM , Rating: 2
Big surprise that my posts were hidden. Some people can't handle the truth. lol


RE: Seriously
By Donkey2008 on 3/1/2013 9:18:37 PM , Rating: 2
The only thing more boring than Apple itself are the people who cry in the comments of every Apple story. Same whing, different day. ZZZZZZZZZZ


Low share price????
By ipay on 3/1/2013 8:39:28 AM , Rating: 2
...Its called correction.




RE: Low share price????
By laviathan05 on 3/1/2013 9:54:28 AM , Rating: 2
I would say it's a bit of an over-correction. Apple is still one of the healthiest and most profitable companies in the world.

The fact that the price dropped so much tells me that the market is unsure if Apple's leadership can keep pace with the vision set by Jobs. The fact that the only new line of products rumored to come out of Apple since Jobs' passing is a watch is not helping investor confidence to say the least.


RE: Low share price????
By Helbore on 3/1/2013 1:19:27 PM , Rating: 5
Regardless of how successful Apple are, their stock has been wildly overpriced for a long time. Apple ran at the forefront of two market explosions (smartphones and tablets), but those market explosions are slowing down and Apple's crazy growth along with them.

They're not about to go out of business or anything stupid. They're still rolling in money. But the stupid share prices are coming to an end and Apple will fall back to a more reasonable level. The only people getting pissed off by this are the morons who bought into the notion of Apple doubling its worth every year for the rest of time.


RE: Low share price????
By laviathan05 on 3/1/2013 4:44:47 PM , Rating: 2
Wildly overpriced based on what?

If your going to make claims like this you should probably support it with some kind of evidence.

Share price isn't stupid because it's a big number. Do you think Berkshire Hathaway is wildly and stupidly overpriced? Google?


RE: Low share price????
By laviathan05 on 3/1/2013 4:45:16 PM , Rating: 2
*you're


RE: Low share price????
By Helbore on 3/1/2013 7:51:00 PM , Rating: 2
You're right! I'm usually good with that so feel kind of silly now.

At least it wasn't a run-on sentence with no caps or punctuation. ;)


RE: Low share price????
By Helbore on 3/1/2013 7:52:40 PM , Rating: 2
Ok, so you were correcting your own post and not mine! I will blame beer for that slip-up!


RE: Low share price????
By Helbore on 3/1/2013 8:08:06 PM , Rating: 4
Compare Apple's stock price to any other company. Then compare their global impact and their long-term viability.

Apple products could - theoretically - go out of vogue overnight and the company could drop from its current position very quickly. They hold very little that guarantees long-term sustained profitability. Their future profitability is all based on the assumption that they can continue to re-invent niche markets into mainstream markets, or the generally idiotic assumption that the tablet and smartphone markets will never stop growing at exponential rates.

Why does that make them overpriced? They're still very successful and still have ridiculous profits. Its overpriced when compared to every other business that has long-term sustainability in their market.

Apple's market price is based on short-term market assumptions. Great growth in the past has led to their stock going through the roof as idiots assumed it was sustainable. Anyone with any sense knew these markets will eventually hit a saturation point and level off - possibly even decline slightly. Consequently, anyone with any market sense knew Apple's stock was overpriced and would have to come down eventually.

The problem is the amount of ill-informed or uneducated money-grabbers who invested late, in the hope the stock would just continue to climb forever. Now they're ranting because they paid a heck of a lot for stock that is now not going in the direction they - stupidly - predicted.

I'm surprised you are asking for evidence to this fact. Apple profits are still going well. Stock prices are still going down, though. The market is all about gambling and confidence. People gambled Apple was worth more than it appears to be. They're now losing confidence in that initial gamble. Anyone with forethought saw this coming. What more evidence do you need?


RE: Low share price????
By fteoath64 on 3/2/2013 4:50:07 AM , Rating: 2
"Apple products could - theoretically - go out of vogue overnight and the company could drop from its current position very quickly."

Well said. The above is the greatest fear of Apple as their product range is not diversified enough to buffer financially if such a thing happen. The risk gets higher when the competition gets technically better and cheaper over time and Apple's perceived advantages evaporates in front of their eyes.

This is why I feel that Apple needs to diversify and make a big effort to do so. It will be welcomed by the market and shareholders alike. They can see the iPhone sales slowing down and price pressure from competitors left and right. The playing field is rather level now and good execution and PR handling are of utmost importance to ensure continue patronage and user good will.

Having half-heartedly dive into the tablet space, the iPad is making a significant contribution to the bottom lines. If they had not released the Mini, iPad would have eroded much further without possibly of rebounding. Unless they cut prices in light of the competitive market out there.

I also think Cook ought to make a "Makeover" in his approach to the press and to customers in general. Being very tight lip about product direction is not helping any as their competitors rely on carefully crafted "leaks" the spread maximum effort on the market and user expectations. A lot of the purported leaks worked well in positive spin. This is where Apple can learn from instead of acting in a draconian way to potential "leakers".


Hey Tony
By spread on 3/1/2013 1:08:38 AM , Rating: 3
You read the writing on the wall? You're going to have to find a new obsession.

Crazy old man.




RE: Hey Tony
By ritualm on 3/1/2013 9:21:11 AM , Rating: 2
Conflict-of-interest.


RE: Hey Tony
By Tony Swash on 3/1/13, Rating: 0
RE: Hey Tony
By EasyC on 3/1/2013 1:08:32 PM , Rating: 2
The share price isn't low
By BifurcatedBoat on 3/1/2013 10:52:32 AM , Rating: 4
Low is when it was $20. It was way overvalued when it was at $700, given the fact that Apple's business model has never been about sustainability.

They made record profits for a short time, but never forged the alliances necessary to create steady profits over the long-term.

As a result, they made a lot of money in a short period of time, but will need to continue to come up with new products that people want in order to continue having anything close to that success.




What a crock
By W00dmann on 3/1/2013 4:59:00 PM , Rating: 2
F*ck you Einhorn. You benefited (or should have) by the meteoric rise of Apple stock, and now you cry like a whiny baby, thinking you have the power to dictate to Apple what to do with their money?

F*ck you again Einhorn. Apple shareholders crowed long and loud about Apple's money hoard while the stock was going up, pointing to it as an excuse as to why the company was so great and why their shares deserved to go higher; after all, "if you backed out cash" the P/E ratio would be so incredibly low the company had to be a buy, wouldn't it? (Or so they kept harping) And golly gee, Apple can keep that money handy in case they need it for, oh I don't know, innovating and developing great new products, right? Yet more evidence of its shareworthiness. But oh no, now that the shares have taken a hit, shareholders have the temerity to actually demand the company to GIVE THEM money. I am happy for anybody who profited by holding Apple (seriously), but you can't have it both ways. Stop acting like a bunch of spoiled crybabies. You speculate on the stock, you take the risk. No have NO right to demand ANYTHING from any company. F*ck you once again, Einhorn.




RE: What a crock
By hiscross on 3/1/2013 9:15:49 PM , Rating: 2
you should vent this truth to all rest of the people who want Apple to go away. I am for them shutting down, keeping everything they have and not letting anyone get their hands on their property. They can distribute their cash to their only to their employees. Let's see how much innovation comes out of the tech industry then. Only Exxon makes more money than Apple. Take that economic free pass away. The world doesn't deserve Apple, but it does deserve everything much less.


Apple is still overvalued
By GatoRat on 3/1/2013 11:43:36 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, I know what the numbers say, but my gut feeling is that Apple can't sustain the revenue stream they currently have. The problem with going short isn't that the stock price will drop, but when. (The same applies to Amazon, which is extremely overvalued.)




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