Apple Talks Cash, Share Price, at Investor Meeting
CEO Tim Cook, who received a 99.1% approval rating from shareholders, said he and the board are not happy with Apple's share price compared to a few months ago, but reiterated that the iPhone maker is focused on the long term. Apple's share price has tumbled from a high of $705 in September to around $440, a fall of nearly 30%.
He continued to suggest that the lawsuit by Greenlight Capital's David Einhorn is a "silly sideshow", but did note that Apple's actively thinking about returning cash to shareholders. Apple's $137 billion cash hoard has attracted a lot of attention and Cook said Apple is in "very, very active" discussions on what to do with it.
While he didn't touch on any new products (as is the norm), Cook did say that Apple has products coming this year, and hinted that the tech giant may be looking at new categories. Recent rumors have suggested that Apple may announce a smart watch or a television set.
The Apple chief did mention the success of the iPhone and the iPad. Cook said that over 50% of iPad purchasers in countries like China and Brazil were first-time Apple buyers, and he was confident that the "halo-effect" surrounding the iPad would make them repeat Apple customers.
As part of this halo effect, Cook noted that Apple continues to see exceptional growth in China, where Apple generated $24 billion of revenue last year. "This is larger than any technology company in the United States that we're aware of," Cook was quoted as saying by CNBC. He also mentioned that Apple grew $48 billion more than its competitors combined, including Google (GOOG) , Microsoft (MSFT) , Dell (DELL) , HP (HPQ) , BlackBerry (BBRY) and Nokia (NOK) .