Slower-growing Apple sparks investor ire

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Friday, February 08, 2013

 

The Wall Street Journal: Solid returns no longer satisfy investors in Apple Inc. A hedge fund manager is suing the company to try to boost shareholder returns with some of the $137 billion in cash it's sitting on.

For nearly 18 months, [CEO Tim] Cook has kept a stream of new products rolling, produced a string of robust quarterly results and introduced a dividend and stock buyback expected to cost $45 billion over three years.

But an attack from one of Apple's prominent investors underscores how that approach may not be enough anymore, especially amid intensifying industry competition and the company's slowing growth.

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Old power works like a currency. It is held by few. Once gained, it is jealously guarded, and the powerful have a substantial store of it to spend. It is closed, inaccessible, and leader-driven. It downloads, and it captures.

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Part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law, the rule will compel public companies to be more open about employee compensation, with the assumption that greater transparency will improve corporate performance and, perhaps, help address one of the major challenges of our time: income inequality.

New power is not only about strategy and tactics, the Harvard Business Review authors say. “The ultimate questions are ethical. The big question is whether new power can genuinely serve the common good and confront society’s most intractable problems.”

That sounds like a call to arms. Or a New Year’s resolution. Old power or new, the goals are the same: to be a force for positive change in the world. Happy 2015!

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