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Old Feb 12, 2013, 09:29 AM   #1
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Tim Cook at Goldman Sachs Conference: Retail Philosophy, Acquisitions, and the Apple Ecosystem




Apple CEO Tim Cook is now speaking at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference, participating in a Q&A session with analyst Bill Shope. Apple is streaming live audio of the session on its investor site, and we'll be sharing some of the highlights here in this post.

Question about Apple's cash usage strategy...do you have a Depression-era mentality?

What a way to start! We're making significant investments in a number of areas: supply chain, retail stores, corporate acquisitions, etc. Now, we do have a significant amount of cash, and we're fortunate to have that. We're returning some of it to investors and will continue to have discussions on that.

Thoughts on Greenlight's proposal about unlocking more capital for shareholders?

We welcome input from our shareholders and are discussing a broad array of options.

How about Greenlight's lawsuit regarding your proxy statement?

There are some misconceptions over what this is about. It's not about turning money back to shareholders. It's about corporate governance. So we've decided to eliminate the ability to issue "blank check" shares ourselves. We could still do it, but would have to go to shareholders for approval. So frankly, this seems bizarre to me that we're being sued over something that's good for shareholders.

We wish people involved in this lawsuit would take this money and donate it to a good cause. This is a waste of money for all involved...a silly sideshow. But you're not going to see us sending out a mailing or campaigning for our proposal. It's the right thing to do, and I'm going to vote for it. You're not going to see a "Yes on 2" sign in my front yard.

Question on acquisitions...most of them are small. Is there something in your culture against large acquisitions?

We do a fair number of acquisitions...one every other month. Most of them are for talented people working on smaller projects that we absorb and then move them to our own projects. PA Semi is an example...talented chip folks working on PowerPC and we moved them to iOS device work. We'll do more deals like this.

As for large companies, we have and will continue to look at them. But so far they haven't passed smell test for us. We could do it, but we're disciplined. Not interested in just growing revenue, but if there was a large acquisition that fit our needs, we would do it.


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