What to do about the money? The big question that hardly anyone asked of chief executive Tim Cook at Apple’s annual shareholders’ meeting.
The company is sitting on 137 billion dollars of cash (104 billion euros) and investors who have seen Apple’s shares fall in value by more than an third in the last five months want some of that cash shared out.
Cook told the one shareholder who directly asked that the board is holding “very active discussions” on the matter, but patience is running out:
Brian Colello, Senior Equity Analyst with Morningstar, said he expects some word soon: “It would be much more of a disappointment if we don’t hear something in a month or so. Again, I think they announced the initial dividend in March of last year so I would expect something in March but I think if there is no announcement before earnings in late April that would be a big issue.”
On the declining share price, Cook said he doesn’t like it either, but maintained if Apple keeps making “great products” and gets them right then “revenue and profits will follow”.
What great products are in the pipeline? Apple, which is notoriously secretive, won’t say, but it better be something groundbreaking to keep the shareholders happy.