Apple’s dividend heralds ‘changing of the guard’

“What would Steve have done? It’s a question that Apple CEO Tim Cook can’t escape. From the naming of the new iPad to his choice of clothing at public events, company-watchers parse Cook’s every move, looking for differences between him and the company’s revered founder Steve Jobs,” Michael Liedtke reports for The Associated Press.

“But Cook seems determined to stamp his own legacy on the world’s most valuable company,” Liedtke reports. “In the biggest break from Jobs’ philosophy since Cook succeeded him as CEO seven months ago, Apple is dipping into its nearly $100 billion cash stash to start paying a quarterly dividend of $2.65 per share to its stockholders.”

Liedtke reports, “The commitment announced Monday draws a clear line of demarcation between Cook and Jobs.”

“Jobs hoarded cash like a man afraid of running out of it. Plagued by memories of Apple’s flirtation with bankruptcy in the late 1990s, he steadfastly resisted calls for the company to pay a dividend,” Liedtke reports. “With Cook in charge, Apple is now ready to herald a new era and dole out about $10 billion in dividends each year. It’s an amount that Apple can easily afford, given the size of its current bank account and the billions more pouring in amid feverish demand for its iPhones, iPads and iPods.”

Read more in the full article here.

22 Comments

  1. What a load of crap. Apple is moved from fringe player to the largest US company, and with that transition many of the things Apple has done require change. People saying Sqteve wouldn’t do this or that is a load of crap. Maybe just maybe, Steve was focused on product and strategy and decided to let Cook and co decide on what to do with the cash? Steve changed his mid lots of times, heck, iTunes for windoze was frankly a hell freezes over type of act.

    1. And Video’s on the iPod, Steve was initially completely against video’s/movies on the iPod but relented in the face of huge customer demand for it.

      1. Which turned out to be a big gimmick that never got anywhere. I have an iPod nano that plays and records video. It sucks at both since the screen is way to little and the resolution of the recording is to low.

        1. My wife used her Nano every day to watch her Soaps during the bus ride to work. Not a gimmick to her.

          As for Steve, he wasn’t set in stone. Just because he opposed something once didn’t mean he continued dogmatically. He changed his mind frequently based on available tech and opinions of others. He didn’t pay dividends because he loathed shareholders thinking they have the right to tell the company what to do with their money, while stuffing their pockets with begrudingly hoarded “bonuses” and ultimately conspiring to kill the golden goose. Apple deciding to pay out dividends of their own volition would have been just fine.

        1. Steve was also smart enough to recognize the evolving capabilities of devices. Early on, it made no sense to have vid function until after the 3rd gen ipod. As the original iPod form factor evolved into the touch, vid was a no-brainer necessity.

        2. Right, so when do these talking heads quit saying Steve wouldn’t do this, or was obsessed with that? Just tired of reading crap from people who wouldn’t have the first clue of what, how or why Steve Jobs made decisions and managed Apple. I do truly believe that Steve in the last year to 18 months, even though he was CEO, had delegated many of those duties and his key managers simply followed broad guidelines from Steve. The focus was on strategy and product, and I for one, as a user and shareholder am extremely thankful that he focused his remaining time the way he did.

  2. I wish the press would get off the idea of comparing every breath Tim Cook takes to SJ.

    The clear reality is that Tim Cook is an extremely bright and capable Apple CEO. If the corporate team spent every day agonizing over what SJ would do, the company would be paralized.

    I feel confident that Tim will make the choices that will move Apple forward and keep customers delighted! What more could anyone ask?

  3. What would Steve have done?

    Honestly, at this point, who cares? He’s gone & people need to get over it and move on. The current senior exec team deserves more respect than always being compared to SJ.

  4. Actually wasn’t that how Steve formed his management team , didn’t he deliberately select people that would not be paralyzed or even consider what Steve would do? Time for the Media to quit shadow second guessing Tim Cook.

  5. It’s funny, when my family asked me when Apple would do something with their cash, over the last few years, I’d tell them, Apple will do something when Steve passes away and Apple’s cash reaches a landmark like $100B. Now, that it’s happened, I’m not at all surprised.

  6. It’s hardly a change at all. They’re still going to accumulate greater and greater amounts of cash–far beyond what they could ever invest productively. (Perversely one of the things that makes Apple stand out is that they WON’T make a big acquisition just to get bigger or just because they can.)

    All they’re doing is diverting a fraction of the firehose of new cash coming in to a dividend.

    Tim Cook’s Apple is going to hoard far more money than Steve Job’s Apple ever did. With the new dividend I figure they’ll ONLY have $140 B at the end of 2012.

    It’s hardly a change in policy. It’s just not being religious about not paying a dividend.

    1. I’m interested to see the numbers too. No one’s been doing the math. If they don’t start until July, and they already have well over $100 billion in the bank, and they’re socking it away as fast as they are, that $45 billion over 3 years has close to no impact.

  7. And just think a little on this…. Apple has Billions Overseas it can’t bring home to the US without major penaltys… Now if they pay the dividends out of those funds….

      1. It not about paying taxes, it is about paying a ridiculous tax rate on those funds. AAPL would be nuts to repatriate those funds and get hit with a 35% tax rate.

        Contrary to the way the media spins it, the “tax holiday” does NOT mean that they don’t pay any taxes on repatriated funds, it simply means that the rate would be reduced to something sane (less than 10%). Would you really want to see AAPL give up 35% of $60B just to bring the funds back? Why would they do that?

        You can expect Apple to leave that money offshore forever unless something is done with regards to the taxation.

        I would think that getting almost $6B in taxes from Apple under a tax holiday would be better than getting nothing from them by them being forced to leave it offshore. Especially since we know the country would mismanage it and won’t do anything productive with the funds anyway.

  8. What would Steve Jobs do? Let’s ask him:

    “When you hire really good people you have to give them a piece of the business and let them run with it. That doesn’t mean I don’t get to kibitz a lot. But the reason you’re hiring them is because you’re going to give them the reins.”–Steve Jobs, Fortune Magazine, March 6, 2008

    We already know what Steve Jobs would do. He specifically left Tim Cook in charge and told him not to sit around asking, “What would Steve do?” I believe he uses those exact words in Mossberg’s bio.

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