Despite a dozen of protestors sporting “Make Ethical iPhones” sign, Apple – the company which is in an enviable position from almost all sides – iPad trademark issue in China – poor working conditions are in the spotlight – and on the top the company crossed $500 stock price barrier mark – with a record quarter first earnings – and the meeting, held Thursday morning at the company’s Cupertino campus, was “celebratory” – for both shareholders in general and for shareholder activists.
The first part of the meeting started with discussion over on official business – which includes the re-election of members of the company’s board of directors, and voting on a slate of other proposals – an important announcement was made by Bruce Sewell, Apple’s senior VP and general counsel stating “how the company’s board of directors will be elected.”
What the year meant for Apple?
- New iPhones: “Siri is a word that’s now recognized in almost every country in the world.”
- New iPads: “I can’t imagine my life without [the iPad]…it’s the most fabulous device I’ve ever had.”
- New Macs: Three new model lines represented “constant innovation in the Mac space. The #1 best-selling PC last quarter was the MacBook Pro.”
- A new version of iOS: “The developer base grew even larger. There are now over 550,000 apps—Apple has become a jobs platform.”
- A new version of OS X: “and just seven months later, we’re previewing Mountain Lion.” (Note to everyone: Cook called it “the Mac OS.”)
- The iPod: Still over 70 percent of the market in the U.S., with nearly that in some other countries.
- The iTunes Store: “We’re very close to 25 billion downloads. It’s hard to intellectually comprehend that number.”
- Retail stores: Now over 360 stores around the world, and 110 million people visited them in the previous quarter. “We used to think Macworld [Expo] was fantastic when 50,000 came.” Cook also told attendees that if they haven’t seen the new Grand Central Station Store, “seeing it will make you proud to be an Apple Shareholder.”
- Revenue: $108 billion in revenue in 2011, $43 billion more than the year before. “That growth is more than the growth of HP, Dell, Nokia, HTC, Google, and RIM combined—it’s really mind-blowing.”
Cook takes on different things:
Apple CEO Tim Cook described Facebook as a ‘friend’ saying, “We do a lot with them, and our users are using Facebook a tremendous amount,” Cook said. “It’s not like some other companies [where] we see a significant overlap in the things we do, I have always thought that the two can do more together.”
Cook, on the company’s cash hoard: “We’ve spent billions on our supply chain, building our retail stores, and purchasing companies and intellectual property. We’ve spent a lot, but we still have a lot. The board and management team are in active discussions…we will do what we believe is in the best interests of the company and the shareholders.”
Cook, on the topic of a stock split: History shows that most stock splits don’t actually help the stock over the long run; in fact, because of additional transaction costs, it may hurt. However, the company regularly talks about everything that might be in the shareholders’ best interests, and will continue to do so.
The best one I like:
Cook, in response to the best question of the day (“I just bought a new 55-inch LG TV for the SuperBowl, and I have 60 days to return it. Should I return it?”): “I’m not going to comment on that, but I will say that the Apple TV is an incredible product, and it’s only $99. It will work great with your TV.”