Apple CEO promises investors 'great stuff' to come

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 27, 2013 at 4:34 pm •  Published: February 27, 2013
Advertisement
;

A potential showdown was averted last week when a federal judge ruled that Apple had improperly bundled several corporate governance issues, including the handling of preferred stock, in the same proposal. Apple withdrew the proposal from Wednesday's agenda, to the chagrin of two shareholders who said they would have voted for it. Supporters of the measure included the California Public Employee Retirement System, or CalPERS, which urged Cook to do what's best for Apple's long-term interests.

"I would say the message is, 'Keep calm and carry on,'" said Anne Simpson, who oversees corporate governance for CalPERS.

Einhorn, whose fund owns 1.3 million Apple shares, didn't appear at Wednesday's meeting.

In response to a question Wednesday, Cook said Einhorn's resistance to a shareholder vote on preferred stock remains "a silly sideshow, regardless of how a judge ruled on it." Cook remarks echoed the derisive description he used during an appearance at an investor conference earlier this month.

Cook also sounded a familiar refrain when he discussed Apple's pile of cash. "This is a serious subject, and one we deliberate on as a board and a management team. We are in very, very active discussions on it," Cook said.

Not long after Cook made similar remarks at last year's annual meeting, Apple announced plans to start paying a quarterly dividend of $2.65 per share and to spend $10 billion buying back its stock in the fiscal year that began last October. Even though the dividend commitment costs Apple $10 billion annually, the company now has $39 billion more cash than it did year ago.

The prosperity underscores the ongoing popularity of Apple's products.

Although Apple is selling more gadgets than ever before, the company's profits and sales aren't growing as robustly because of fiercer competition from a multitude of other smartphones and tablet computers, including ones costing less. Apple's biggest headaches have been caused by Android, a mobile operating system that Internet search leader Google Inc. gives away to a long list of device makers led by Samsung Electronics Co.

There are now an estimated 600 million devices running on Android, giving it a lead over Apple.

Cook said Apple remains more interested in the quality of its products than the quantity sold.

"We want to make the best," Cook said. "That's why we are here."