And mirrored as well in two other cities from what I've read.
And that's what's wrong with the world. Companies spend too much time looking over their shoulders to be sure that Wallstreet approves. It was much better when Wallstreet just watched the companies that were doing well... the companies that made good products that satisfied their customers... and rewarded them by having their stocks increase. This business of Wallstreet calling the shots stinks.
Wallstreet doesn't make "products" that people use in their daily lives.
Wallstreet doesn't buy the products that companies sell.
With all due respect, he is correct. The purpose of a (for profit) corporation is to enhance and protect shareholder value/wealth. While Apple (and other corporations) may have other goals as well, anything in their mission statements, which contradicts their fiduciary responsibilities to shareholders, can and should be ignored.
Some may not like that fact. But as soon as Jobs and the other backers took Apple public, this was the deal they made... whether it was with the devil or not.
One takes a company public in order to raise additional funding and/or to (at least partially) cash out those who invested in the company in its private stage. And yes, it comes down to the number of people that want to invest in the company, or if they are emotional (think Facebook), they may be drawn in by a charismatic personality or hyped story. But whether it's longer term investing or shorter term, the enhancement of wealth is the primary purpose of a public corporation.
It really isn't about keeping people "happy". That's just an unquantifiable emotion, which changes from person to person. Return on investment is entirely quantifiable. And comparing a particular stock's return versus another stock or asset class is justified. Buying a stock based primarily on emotion or faith is usually just a good way to lose money... or forcing yourself to rely on luck.
I have been a fan of Apple and its products for roughly 30 years. And over that time, I've been in and out of the stock several times. But I try to maintain a wall between my Apple fandom and my assessment of the stock's future prospects. If/when I sell some or most of my AAPL shares, it will just mean that I determined that keeping the money in AAPL wouldn't provide the same level of return as some other investment.
I better understand where you're coming from now. And I don't really disagree with your point. No, I don't believe a company should jump through hoops for (activist) investors like Icahn or anyone else. But there is an old saying, when you buy a stock, you're not (really) buying the company. Apple's stock is a good example. The company (AFAIK) is doing just fine. But the stock has been a dog since last year. And what's good for the company or its product offerings may not be good for the stock, or me as an investor. From a fundamental standpoint, the best one can do is try to assess the stock based on the company's financials. On AAPL, at least in the medium term, clearly I was wrong - my 20/20 goggles should have told me to sell in the high 600's. The only thing that makes me feel better is that I had lots (and LOTS) of company.
But yes, my primary concern when making an investment is longer term wealth enhancement. Taking that into account, as long as my goals were in sync with the company and its goals, I would probably continue to hold. But if we fell out of sync and I believed that I could make a substantially higher return elsewhere, I would liquidate my Apple holdings and place the money in some other vehicle (whether it be another company's stock, an apartment building or whatever). But I'd still have my mouth watering for that Mac Pro that keeps dancing around in my dreams and I'd still buy myself an iPad Mini Retina for Christmas. I'd still be cheering for the company to be successful.