Tim Cook’s talk is cheap: Apple is much different now than it was under Steve Jobs

“Apple is a whole lot different under Tim Cook than it was under Steve Jobs, in more ways than one,” Evan Niu writes for The Motley Fool. “One of the more prominent ways, which is particularly relevant for shareholders, is how Cook values investors’ role as stakeholders. Jobs always viewed shareholders with measured disdain, considering them a necessary evil for any public company. On the other hand, Cook very much values their opinion on corporate matters.”

“That also includes making somewhat regular media appearances to defend the iPhone maker’s business and future innovation,” Niu writes. “(Can you imagine Jobs talking to Jim Cramer on Mad Money?) But talk is cheap, and actions speak louder than words.”

“That’s the message that Bernstein analyst Toni Sacconaghi has for investors. In a recent research note, Sacconaghi points out that Cook’s numerous media appearances over the years, many of which are intended to reassure investors, have not correlated with share performance in any meaningful way,” Niu writes. “In contrast, Apple’s buyback activity has been quite telling. Citing the old saying, ‘Do what they do, not what they say,’ Sacconaghi finds a strong correlation between large repurchase activity and outperformance.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Debt-backed buybacks are basically free money and $14 billion seems to be the magic number for quarterly buybacks, at least historically.

Bernstein: Apple buybacks matter more than CEO Cook’s media appearances – May 9, 2016
Apple resumes share buybacks, to benefit from beaten down price – April 29, 2016
How Apple’s massive debt-powered buybacks actually save the company money – December 28, 2015


    1. Software sucks

      New products are expensive, worthless, and awful

      Customer satisfaction is lower than both Hillary and Donald’s likeability ratings

      The Mac has been all but deserted

      The iPad has been ignored and hasn’t been innovated (not even mouse support)

      ITunes is a hot mess

      The App Store is slow as molasses, when you can get it to load at all

      Keynotes are like watching paint dry

      The CEO is lazy, incompetent, and aloof

      The good news is that Cook never misses an opportunity to stick his face in the spotlight or campaign for gay rights.

      1. Yeah, that really annoys homophobes like you most of all, doesn’t it? Busy boy. You hate everything about the company from its CEO to its products to its DNA and its values, yet find time in your bust schedule of putting a dent in the universe to troll here. Buh-bye.

        1. auramac, you are so right. Tim Cook is exceptional. He can really BS on talk shows and make excuses. Maybe Apple should invent the iBullshit. Tim Cook’s own invention, not something Steve Jobs thought of or some weak idea from a poll of half-brained senior executives more interested in self preservation than Apple’s long term interest.

          1. Brainless Joe from Doofus, MO strikes again. It is amusing he thinks he has an opinion worth listening to that isn’t rampantly ignorant and ignores things like the Apple Watch, Apple Music, etc.. and upcoming other new areas of non-Jobsian devices like the Apple Car. Also a blatant moron who doesn’t realize the iPhone, iPad and Mac will continue to be with us, improved and make huge profits for Apple. There’s hardly anything wrong with that.

            I’m sure if you had been around in the day you would have accused Steve Jobs of riding on the Mac coattails too long. And the Walt Disney Company is different after Walt died but is still very successful today, and thriving. Just not exactly the same company.

            Besides picking wings off flies why don’t you go out and do something good except picking your nose and nonstop farting?

            1. You keep deriding my posts as not worth reading, but you keep reading them and responding to them. When I say reading I do not infer that you understand them. Whatever interpretations you imagine are your own, I can’t help you with that.

            2. No you’re still writing junk food posts. But it’s my job now to undercut everything you say here now. As long as you are here and as long as you keep saying capricious, specious and moronic things. I suspect (I know actually) you are incapable of behaving yourself and expressing yourself intelligently. You can’t even hear yourself and how absolutely hateful you sound, contributing nothing to a discussion. Calorically vacuous statements only a cretin could love. But then I don’t expect much more from a stunted 10 year old (that’d be you).

            3. Hey Pete, that’s the thing about Apple jackass followers such as you as you cannot see the world beyond Apple and it’s devices. Apple are powerful yes but Tim Cook hasn’t got a clue…he hides behind other people who advise him and all the cash cow devices that were developed before he came to being in charge. Apple with it’s own proprietary standards will eventually find itself having to follow rather than lead and people will move onto something else. Perhaps Apple should break into North Korea…they share a lot in common with how users have to work, are control freaks over the users who rely on them and don’t give a toss really despite them saying so. Watching Apple employees on stage presenting or being interviewed is so contrived and fake it is sad. You have been brainwashed.

            4. The jackasses are people like you who can’t see the tech forest for the trees. You assume you know what Apple’s plans are, make judgment in an area of CEO managership you haven’t any experience or clue about. Nor do you give reasoned arguments and credit where credit is due. In other words your biased and unbalanced (unhinged too). Decidedly it’s immature analysis by children. Essentially it’s a flock of doofuses proclaiming sentence in an area they are clueless about. Specious conjecture that’s mostly fantasy driven. I have my complaints about Apple too but I don’t sound like a raving loon when I talk about them. The moment you go off on a ridiculous tangent you lose everyone and are summarily dismissed as having a credible opinion. You can have an opinion based on conspiracy, incompetence, etc. but it’s just your half-brained opinion and not a fact. Therefore you cannot go off half-cocked feeling self-righteous on your capricious spew that may (and probably is) COMPLETELY WRONG. Opinions are like assholes and that’s the area guys like you and Joe (& others here) speak from.

              It has nothing to do with brainwashing and everything to do with being fair – an alien concept to you apparently. And oh yeah, there’s nothing especially “fake” about a Microsoft or Samsung (fill in the blank) presentation. So now you blame companies trying to present something in the best possible light to mixed result. More evidence you have no clue. Stuff like this just makes you look disingenuous and stupid.

  1. Apple was, is, and should be different; however, different does not necessarily mean better. Sure, Tim Cook has promised better, but he hasn’t delivered. Tim Cook hasn’t made Apple any better and I am losing patience.

    1. For what, exactly? If you want to try the traditional specs chase, you have many options today. Apple pursues the slow and steady, albeit unflashy, evolutionary pace, making sure changes integrate as well as possible with their other products. When they do release something new, they have be able to offer many millions copies all at once, at scale. Screw ups are therefore huge, and costly. So, Apple goes slow and tests, finds multiple sources, and companies able to produce the volumes they require.

      Only Samsung has demonstrated the production capacity to push out product, but they’re only interested in the specs and flash, not the product’s integration into a viable ecosystem. Hence, they turn out many products at lower volumes each year with huge ad buys attempting to find the mix that will excite the customer.

      For me, it’s the hardware reliability, quality, and ecosystem integration that keeps me happy.

    2. 99% of this angst is over the drop in sales from iPhone 6.

      But if iPhone 6 had been less successful, and Apple was selling exactly the same number of phones now but with a perfectly smooth rise the last two years, everyone would be feting Apple.

      The only mistakes I am aware of are:
      – All Macs being updated too slowly
      – No real Pro Mac anymore
      – iTunes still a mess of an application/system

      I am sure there are others.

      But it is still too early to know how well Apple will really do under Cook because Apple looks ahead 3-5 years in terms of major product changes.

      Apple Watch was great as 1.0 phone accessory. Seeing how that evolves will be telling. But I think an Apple VR or AR device will be the big test.

      If Apple comes out with a car before announcing a VR product that would be a bad sign. I think that in a few years a lot of us will be working in VR without the limitations of screens. Like the iPhone, that will force reinvention of personal computing again.

      1. What I see happening is a massive shift to smaller hardware items, long life products and accessories. Apple Watch is just the start (bands, charger, smart bands, extra sensors…).

        Miniaturized in ear Beats BT earbuds next? I hope so.

        Apple MacBook Pro with hardware options in the future?

        User Replaceable LCDs, keyboard, trackpad, touch display pad per user desires for standard to complex input & display devices?

        How about a “stackable” MacMini or MacPro or just a “MacStack”? A consumer could buy as little or as much computing and graphics and accessory function power as needed and replace them as desired when they fail or need an upgrade.

        Sooner or later “computers” seem likely to evolve into hardware like autos have advanced to where the options are extensive to give consumers reason to buy your product versus say Lenovo or HP.

      2. Good post, Nevermark. I would add to your critical assessment the idea that Apple is not being as successful at making the complex seem simple as it was in the past. One of the reasons is that the level of complexity has been increasing with the cloud connection on top of an expanding media distribution portfolio. But Apple also needs to be willing to occasionally retreat and regroup to hone it features and ecosystem integration before adding yet another feature.

  2. If Tim Cook were not speaking to the press he would be blasted for not countering the narrative of a weak stock and weak performance. With Tim speaking to the press he is blasted for being ineffectual in propping up stock prices. Either way, he’s cooked (pun intended).

    I usually find Sacconaghi annoying. But he’s right on this one. As long as AAPL remains undervalued share buybacks are a very good thing for Apple and its shareholders.

  3. Jobs introduced a lot of bad ideas as well, plus he took a lot of great stuff and wrecked it. His ratio of great to crap ran around 90%. It seems to be pretty much the same now.
    My main concern is that Apple needs to fix the crap and kill the bugs, etc. It also needs to do one thing that Apple users have been begging for for years – invest heavily in understanding its customers. They say they do, but they do not. (For example, they took iMovie – which was wildly popular among total neophytes – and turned it into a visually confusing nonintuitive mess that scares the pants of most beginners. – Anyone who has used the original drop-dead-easy version, will know what I mean. It took off like a rocket in schools but when they replaced it with the ground-up retooling, the education market dropped it like a hot potato.)
    And why dumb down apps such as Keynote? I’ve had to stick with 09 in order to retain some of the great features that have since been removed (it’s a great app for quickly knocking out titles and other stuff for videos – or it used to be).
    As for OS X, I stuck it out with Mountain Lion for as long as I could, but finally upgraded to El Capitan and it has been one problem after another, requiring regular rebuilds of the NVRAM, etc., and tons of degradations in the interface and tools (What good is a little colored dot 400 pixels away from a file name? What was wrong with what we had before? Why trash DiskAssistant? Why do all sorts of other about-faces?)
    Apple needs to get its act together with its OS, its apps and with its users.

  4. Mistakes Apple has made since 2012:

    Changing iWork’s User Interface and reducing functionality

    Switching from Nvidia to AMD

    Making Retina MacBook Pros non-upgradeable & using expensive custom PCIe flash instead of standard M.2

    Changing the form factor of the Mac Pro and making the graphics card non-upgradable and without a CTO option for a different card, specifically a gaming card

    Releasing buggy versions of OS X as if they were finished products

    This is what the Mac needs:

    Nvidia graphics cards

    Macs should be upgradeable – everything shouldn’t be soldered in or proprietary

    M.2 Solid State Drive slots instead of expensive PCIe for Solid State Drive-equipped Macs

    Bring back classic Mac Pro

    Make consumer-level Mac tower with specifications like dual-core i3 3.7 Ghz CPU and 8-16 gigabytes of RAM so the rest of us can have a Mac desktop which is upgradeable without having to spend $2500 on an overpowered Mac Pro. Apple could make a Mac tower with a 3.7 GHz i5 and 8-16 gigabytes of RAM for $1000-$1500

  5. Hmm now, let’s see:

    Apple is thriving. So throw out its CEO. What a brilliant idea?

    Then after the successful CEO is tossed out, then what?

    Oh, we CLONE Steve Jobs and accelerate his growth rate until he’s ready to be Apple CEO again! Yeah, that’s the solution? I haven’t read any better solutions!

    Meanwhile, is Apple blundering and bumbling? Oh yes! And guess what: That’s standard operating procedure at Apple. That was certainly the case during the Jobs eras! I was there.

    Could Apple be more inventive and come up with new New NEW! stuff every year? That would be GREAT! But is the current technology ready to fulfill great and wonderful technological dreams? Seriously. Is it?

    Do this: Watch what’s about to happen with VR/AR (virtual reality and augmented reality) technology. That stuff has been hanging around in the wings for almost two full decades and STILL isn’t mature enough to become a commercial enterprise. Apple has a pile of VR/AR patents they’ve accumulated over those two decades of invention. Will Apple join in the still limping VR/AR business? Is ANYTHING significant going to happen in VR/AR this year? Next year? Let’s watch.

    Some technologies are wisely left to mature before going public.

    Example: Do you want an existing Google autonomous driving vehicle? I sure as shite do NOT. They’re a public relations GEE WHIZ coup that has NO practical value as of yet and are wisely illegal on the road. Let the technology mature until its ready.

    An example of stuff ahead of its time, NOT ready for prime time: The Apple Newton. We had to wait until the iPhone for it to actually reach maturity. How many years was that?

    Getting the picture now?

    1. The picture is quite clear. Apple (i.e. Tim Cook) was woefully ignorant of this horrible market saturation. Or, maybe he wasn’t. Maybe he knew this all along and did nothing. Tim Cook, the do nothing CEO. All Cook does is sit back, pad his account, and hope things get better because, frankly, he hasn’t a clue what the f*ck is happening or how to reverse the decline. Oh, well, fanboys, keep worshipping the klutz from Cupertino. Just pray your god doesn’t let you down.

      1. You like insulting Tim Cook. We get that. Otherwise, I see nothing correlating with reality in your posts about him.

        How much profit did Apple make last quarter and wouldn’t ANY company be pleased with it? Of course they would.

        I chalk this all up to cocaine psychotics who want the future now now now and the future is not going to submit to their delusions.

    2. Or wait until we’ve all moved back to Windows. My next computer will be a Wintel tower so I can recover my desk space. Four external drives, a tb2 to fibre channel interface and an lto6 tape drive plus the Mac chew up a lot of space, collect a lot of dust and look like shit.

      Sir Jonathan should be forced to have a configuration like mine in his desk at all times. Forever.

    1. Taken in isolation, the stock market is not necessarily a con. A gamble perhaps, but at least you should be able to take educated guesses as you place your bets.

      It is the complex financial instrument the banks invent that pool stock and various commodities into unfathomable financial vehicles that should scare the crap out of any sane person.

      Over the weekend I watched the movie “The Big Short, which I rented from iTunes, that goes into horrifying detail about the mortgage crisis of 2007/2008. So many shenanigans, so much corruption, so little consequence. And most of the so-called “smart set” didn’t have a clue what was going on until it was too late. Fantastic movie but really depressing.

      Wall Street is chock full of lemmings, who follow not the true value of a company’s business and its assets, but follow what they think everyone else on Wall Street is doing. Fundamentals be screwed! So, be afraid. Be very afraid!

  6. Quit dumbing down the Mac. OS X is becoming an absolute mess. Throwing Aperture under the bus was absolute stupidity. Fix the Mac Pro. I’m on my third one. Downgrading system software is getting lots of hits on the net. Vet since the beginning. I own 15.

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