What David Einhorn Is Doing Foreshadows the Beginning of the End at Apple
If Tim Cook views it the same way, that's a major mistake. We could be watching the beginnings of the long-term, post-Steve Jobs unraveling at Apple I warned about shortly after his death.
What David Einhorn is in the process of doing to Apple is nothing short of groundbreaking and monumental.
In recent months, I left my long-term bearish view of a post-Steve Jobs Apple on the back burner.
Because, at some point during the second half of 2012, the financial media and Wall Street analyst community latched onto the argument, diluting, misunderstanding and bastardizing it in the process.
We now have whole swaths of people confounding Apple's short-term prospects with its long-term fate under Tim Cook. That led to a sell-off that came at least a year too soon . While we do not know what the future holds, we do know that Apple continues to dominate mindshare and, to the extent it can via its current strategy, market share against scant meaningful competition.
So, in some respects, you have to give Tim Cook a pass. Apple remains Apple, with or without Steve Jobs. In others, your long-term radar of concern absolutely must pique . It's all about keeping short-term vs. long-term Apple and the media's Apple vs. Apple's Apple in proper perspective.
Steve Jobs Would Have Hated iPrefs Even if He Actually Liked Them
This whole thing would not be about capital allocation for Jobs. He would not give David Einhorn credit for offering an imaginative and unconventional idea (iPrefs) to solve Apple's cash "problem." Jobs would not have spent much time with that angle; rather, he would have been annoyed that Einhorn is (A) no matter the method, prescribing MBA convention for Apple and (B) doing it in the most public way.
The MBA side of this would not interest Jobs. Nor should it interest you because it's not the interesting part of this epic tilt. The psychological aspects matter more. What's fascinating here is the rhetorical battle Einhorn decided to wage. He's not an MBA. And, based on what I know of the guy, he realizes that, even as he talks up iPrefs, what he's doing is bigger than Apple and bigger than preferred stock.
In a war that requires the best rhetoricians, Apple lacks. In Steve Jobs, David Einhorn had a more-than-worthy battle partner. In fact, if Steve Jobs were alive, my guess is that Einhorn would not have charted the present course. If he did, Jobs would never have let it get to this. He would have shot the whole thing down before it turned into such a massive issue.