The flurry of recent articles questioning the mastery of Apple to not only move to the top of the heap, in Silicon Valley terms, as well as financial terms, has stirred my interest in seeing if this too shall pass. Always the darling of the techno-literati, AAPL the trading symbol for the global communications’ giant , is now being defended, by some alleged investors, for spending a small fortune to protect their larger fortunes. The question is, from whom are they protecting the profits?
Over the last six years, especially, AAPL has branded much better mouse traps, in the larger scheme of things, and designed a line-up of communications brands that carry the same panache as designer handbags on Fifth Avenue. Jobs et al simply paid attention to the interfaces and made them and the products appealing. Hard as some tried, they bent badly in the frenzy. HP nearly folded, Dell is awash in a sea of living fossils, soon to be replaced by open source enterprise utilities, if they can define a pleasant enough experience. Microsoft simply bowed out a long time ago. Steve Jobs will be missed mainly for being able to locate the next generation of interfaces. Apparently, he may have been the only one in our business who recognized where the user was going.
While Steve Ballmer has been sitting around, pondering his pile, the folks at Apple saw what was obvious – global markets for easy-to-use, reliable, entertainment-friendly, music-friendly gadgets for the generations. AAPL earns over $41 dollars for every share ( now selling around $600 per share) of stock they issue. They claim to be paying back some of it to investors, but that hasn’t actually happened since 1995. They have about $100 billion in savings alone, and they have built an entirely separate division to beat the residents of many states out of some taxes they could really use.
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Yet defenders, of the tax shelter industry, would say, ‘hey, they’re not breaking any laws?’ And, according to our representatives, and some “loyal” Apple shareholders, this is an acceptable arrangement, regardless of the campaign money politicians spend and take from the companies they regulate. The legislatures and Congress are corrupt, but how do the folks who own shares abide by the dudes who won’t share the riches with them? The last dividend Apple paid was back in ’95 though the stock has soared since then.
I’d love for someone to tell me how it is worth Apple’s time and money to support someone just to ride the bloody line of the law, rather than just give the money back, or buy your own shares. What is the need for this separate industry designed to simply pluck off all the loopholes our corrupt politicians, the lawmakers, write into legislation?
Should Apple be involved in such controversial policies; should they ask shareholders to vote on whether or not to continue such practices; should they be forced, financially, to give the money back to shareholders, spend it, or buy back their own shares? Love to hear your opinions.