Apple Shareholder Meeting Highlights: No Special Dividend, Health Care Opportunity, and No Apple Park Tours

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| Analysis

CUPERTINO – Apple’s annual shareholder meeting took place Tuesday morning at Apple Park, and it was by and large a love fest for management of the world’s most valuable company. The biggest news from the event was an indication Apple would not give shareholders a special dividend. CEO Tim Cook also described what he sees as Apple’s unique opportunity in health care.

And sadly, I’ve got some bad news for folks interested in Apple’s amazing “destination architecture” headquarters, Apple Park: there will be no Apple Park tours for you.

Apple Park Scale Model and Augmented Reality App

Apple Park Augmented Reality Experience is as close as you’ll get to Apple Park

Apple’s Cash

Dividends came up during the informal part of the shareholder meeting, when Tim Cook was asked about it in relation to the money the company just repatriated. There were a couple of questions about that money, which came as a result of the Trump tax bill signed into law at the end of December, but each question were quite different.

One shareholder asked if Apple would do a special dividend or double the current dividend. Mr. Cook didn’t commit to a particular course of action, and instead said that Apple would announce its next dividend plan in April, when it always does.

But, Mr. Cook did say, “Special dividends, I’m really not a fan of.” He went on to say he didn’t think special dividends were good for companies or shareholders alike, though he didn’t go into why.

Tim Cook Stood Up

An earlier question went in a much different direction. Mr. Cook was asked why Apple—the world’s most profitable company—supported the Trump tax plan. It was a very political question positioned as why a rich company like Apple was supporting “corporate welfare” and a massively regressive tax system like what’s in this law.

Mr. Cook got quite animated (for Tim Cook), standing up and pacing during his response. He first made the case that the Trump tax plan had two elements, the first being personal tax cuts, and the second being corporate tax cuts and an overhaul of the corporate tax system.

Apple, according to Mr. Cook, did not get involved in the debate over personal taxes because, he said, it was political. Mr. Cook supports many progressive causes, including equality and green energy, and a big part of this answer to me was intended to say, “Look, what I may feel about tax cuts for the rich is immaterial to Apple’s operations. What is material is the corporate tax system.”

He went on to say he felt Apple had a lot to contribute to that conversation, and he described the old system as one that kept money out of the U.S. and effectively incentivized U.S. multinationals to invest overseas profits overseas. He said that more and more U.S. companies will see more of their income from other countries, and that the Trump tax plan better incentivized investing that money in the U.S.

He further added that Apple was planning to do just that, and that Apple—the world’s biggest taxpayer—was going to pay US$38 billion more in taxes as a result of the new tax law. He went so far as to say claims that Apple was paying less in taxes was “rhetoric,” and that it was untrue.

“We would not have supported something if we thought it was bad for America,” he said.

One more note: Mr. Cook joked that Apple had also proposed that there be zero corporate deductions. “That [proposal] wasn’t accepted,” he said to audience laughter. The Trump tax plan is rife with corporate deductions, loop holes, and structures designed to minimize corporate taxes.

Next: Health Care, Apple Park Tours, and Other Notes from the Apple Shareholder Meeting

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MacFrogger
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MacFrogger

Lee: Haters gonna hate, obviously… While Tim Cook (appropriately) kept his personal politics out of Apple’s shareholder meeting, LCC0256 couldn’t keep his out of this thread. Seizing on a mere mention of Gore by Bryan, he goes off on a political rant that is best described as…FAKE NEWS! And old fake news at that, debunked long ago and in a galaxy (S9?) far away. You forgot one other rebuttal, the one where he rips Gore for supposedly having “worked VERY DAMN FEW honest days in his life.” The reality here is that Gore has been employed as a partner at… Read more »

Lee Dronick
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Lee Dronick

Grrrrr, that href button still doesn’t work:

http://www.perkel.com/politics/gore/internet.htm

LCC0256
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LCC0256

Bryan you mean the same Al Gore who lectures about “carbon footprints” as he jets around the world in his private jet? The same Al Gore who has NEVER held a job outside of the government political hack trough? The same Al Gore (brilliant as he is) who claimed to have basically invented the internet? He may be your hero and that of the socialist in this country but he is a liar a hypocrite and someone who has worked VERY DAMN FEW honest days in his life…

Lee Dronick
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Lee Dronick

The same Al Gore (brilliant as he is) who claimed to have basically invented the internet?

What he actually said:

“During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet. I took the initiative in moving forward a whole range of initiatives that have proven to be important to our country’s economic growth and environmental protection, improvements in our educational system.”

Lee Dronick
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Lee Dronick

Check out this article:

MacFrogger
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MacFrogger

Apple, according to Mr. Cook, did not get involved in the debate over personal taxes because, he said, it was political. Mr. Cook supports many progressive causes, including equality and green energy, and a big part of this answer to me was intended to say, “Look, what I may feel about tax cuts for the rich is immaterial to Apple’s operations. What is material is the corporate tax system.” IMO, Tim got this exactly right. As CEO of Apple he has a fiduciary responsibility to Apple and its shareholders, and the tax bill as it affects corporations is very much… Read more »

Lee Dronick
Member
Lee Dronick

But, Mr. Cook did say, “Special dividends, I’m really not a fan of.” He want on to say he didn’t think special dividends were good for companies or shareholders alike, though he didn’t go into why.

Last evening I attended a Town Hall with Scott Peters, my Representative in Congress. The question of repatriating the money came up. He said that he and others tried to include how the money should be spent, no bonuses for corporate officers and no special dividends. Hopefully the businesses will use the money for growth and such, but there is no guarantee.