Einhorn's a Hustler and He Doesn't Understand Or Care About Apple
At the time, I told you Einhorn was the one who didn't understand Apple. While it sounds cool to assorted hipsters and a handful of tortured tech geeks, his line about Apple being a software company -- not a hardware company -- made no practical sense whatsoever. And the contention certainly doesn't qualify as a deep theoretical or philosophical thought that mere mortals cannot wrap their inferior heads around.
Einhorn's Thursday morning dog and pony show about preferred stock and capital allocation put it all to rest. It's official. He really doesn't understand Apple. In fact, he has absolutely no clue.
Let's make a few things clear though.
First, Einhorn is loaded. He's rich because he's a great investor. That's his thing -- to maximize his investments. That's his objective here. It wouldn't make a difference to him if Apple fell off of the face of the Earth in six months. As long as he squeezed as much juice as he could out of his position, it's all good. He'll move onto the next position.
Don't get me wrong. That's acceptable. Totally cool. It's just unfortunate that we take a guy who we know approaches things from that type of perspective seriously when he tries making sense about Apple.
Second, Einhorn has more money than most of us, but that doesn't mean he's smarter than most of us. Don't be intimated by these cats. There's no reason to be.
Third, Apple apologized . Apple didn't need to apologize. Here's hoping the apology was a classic Apple blow off and not a preview of Apple letting others dictate its flow.
Apple doesn't have to answer to anybody. Not about innovation. Not about how it allocates its capital. And certainly not about how much of that cash it returns to shareholders. You don't like the company's strategy, buy another stock. I hear Intel (INTC) looks pretty "cheap" right now with a "juicy" 4.2% yield. Heck, Microsoft (MSFT) and Hewlett Packard (HPQ) -- they're doing some real exciting stuff . And they're both "bargains," yielding 3.3% and 3.2%, respectively.
The people who claim to "understand" Apple -- as the company moves through little more than a media- and analyst-induced noise fest -- these people do not have even a basic comprehension of why Apple is great. In fact, they see the world through a lens that's so antithetical to what Apple is about that's it probably not possible for them to get it.
This fantastic Haruki Murakami quote sums it up:
If you can't understand it without an explanation, you can't understand it with an explanation .