Apple's shareholders skirmish over ideological differences

Posted:
in AAPL Investors edited March 1
Apple on Friday held its annual shareholders meeting, where a proposal to mandate Apple execs detail their political leanings was profoundly defeated.

Apple at 2018 San Francisco Pride


One shareholder measure called for more "ideological diversity" on the board of directors, according to CNet's Ian Sherr. Apple is a famously liberal-leaning company, if mostly on social issues. The company was one of the first to extend equal benefits to same-sex couples, and in recent years has taken a vocal stance in support of LGBT rights. It has also been aggressive about environmental issues, for example investing cash in renewable energy, and in increasing the racial and gender diversity of its hires.

The combination has upset some people with conservative religious views, climate change deniers, and/or those who feel that Apple should sidestep politics and concentrate on profits.

One person at the meeting complained about Apple's $1 million donation to the Southern Poverty Law Center in the aftermath of violence at a Charlottesville white supremacist rally. The person referred to the SPLC as a hate group, presumably referring to the SPLC's own labeling of certain conservative organizations as hate groups for their stances on things like Islam or the gay community.

The "ideological diversity" measure was soundly defeated at today's meeting, however, garnering just 1.7 percent of the vote. Apple CEO Tim Cook later commented on the matter, saying that the world doesn't need to be so polarized and that his company doesn't "check people at the door" for their beliefs. It also doesn't donate to political campaigns or run a political action committee (PAC).

"For us, we focus on policy things," he said, adding that while Apple is "pro-environment, pro-immigration, capitalist, and strong believers in privacy," it doesn't consider those "political things."

On privacy Cook said that profiles of people are offensive to him and causing greater issues in society. "We think regulation is necessary," he remarked.

Responding to a tangential question, senior VP of Software Engineering Craig Federighi said that new functionality is coming to USB-C video output on the iPad Pro. No more details were made public.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 75
    viclauyycviclauyyc Posts: 350member
    The shareholders, evangelical Christian maybe, who complain about Apple’s ideology should just sell their apple shares and invest in military industry. Most of these peaceful people just care about god, country and guns.  
    flyingdpsans1STnTENDERBITSStrangeDayschasmrobbyxtokyojimuGeorgeBMacchaickadaven
  • Reply 2 of 75
    AppleExposedAppleExposed Posts: 849unconfirmed, member

    Way too political for Apple to care.


    Apple should just be a tech company, not a political entity.

    toysandmemobirdCommonsense65monstrosityjeffythequicktrashman69chaickaairnerd
  • Reply 3 of 75
    sacto joesacto joe Posts: 734member
    My wife and I attended this meeting. As regards the “inclusiveness” proposition, the inclusiveness of conservatives has been strangely absent when they held all the US seats of power in their iron grip. Besides the group behind this (National Center for Public Policy Research) being capable of any despicable act to push their agenda (see https://m.sfgate.com/news/article/The-fear-merchants-3105103.php ), the specious arguments they came up with were simply laughable.
    edited March 1 viclauyycflyingdpsanssuddenly newton1STnTENDERBITSStrangeDayschasmmknelsonrobbyxjeffythequick
  • Reply 4 of 75
    HeliBumHeliBum Posts: 58member
    So, let me get this straight: Apple avoids appearing political by labeling certain social and environmental issues as non-political? Got it.
    designrmobirdSpamSandwichelijahgchristophbjeffythequick
  • Reply 5 of 75
    sacto joesacto joe Posts: 734member
    HeliBum said:
    So, let me get this straight: Apple avoids appearing political by labeling certain social and environmental issues as non-political? Got it.
    Yes, I’m sure issues like pollution and equal rights appear political to you....
    mac_dogStrangeDayschasmrobbyxGeorgeBMacchaickabshankrepressthisdysamoria1983
  • Reply 6 of 75
    designrdesignr Posts: 502member
    HeliBum said:
    So, let me get this straight: Apple avoids appearing political by labeling certain social and environmental issues as non-political? Got it.
    Exactly. If you simply believe you're just "on the right side of history" for every issue...then they're not really "political" except to those are all "wrong."
    entropyselijahgchristophbrandominternetperson
  • Reply 7 of 75
    entropysentropys Posts: 1,698member
    Well they shouldn’t be, Sacto Joe. The methods used by government to manage them are very political though. That’s why everyone is so often at vicious disagreement about it.
     I was taught when young that when you have a problem you look at as wide a range of possible solutions and pick the least cost one. But that’s engineering.
    In politics, you choose the solution that accretes more power to you and your friends. This is rarely the least cost solution to other people.
    On pollution, schemes always seem to be poorly targeted, and costs are imposed and lifestyles reduced for a broader section of the community that the point source of the pollution. But almost invariably the design of the scheme also happens to benefit certain business groups who then get rich on government subsidy and other approaches to shield them from the market which might prefer other outcomes.  
    On equal rights, it isn’t equal if policies give automatic preference to particular entities. Such policies are by design, intended to give one identity group preference over another, the very crime they pretend to address.

    All I am saying is you cannot trust a politician claiming to solve a problem for you. Always ask what is in it for them and their friends. Especially when they are claiming a noble cause. Inevitably, the politician will be rigging things to either on the one hand give their mates privileged preference, on the other hand make it easier for their mates’ businesses, or on the gripping hand, best of all is to make things harder for their mates’ competitors. 

    Back on topic, of course this motion should be unsuccessful. It is no ones’ business what political preferences a director or executive has. It is about how good they are at their job.  Remember that works both ways of course. 
    edited March 1 designrSpamSandwichjeffythequickacejax805beowulfschmidt
  • Reply 8 of 75
    HeliBum said:
    So, let me get this straight: Apple avoids appearing political by labeling certain social and environmental issues as non-political? Got it.
    That is a mischaracterization at best.
    mac_dogchasmGeorgeBMacrepressthis1st1983lolliver
  • Reply 9 of 75
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,687member
    Forgot to vote!
    repressthis
  • Reply 10 of 75
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,087member
    Being pro-environment, pro-immigration (not “illegal immigration”), capitalist, and a strong believer in privacy doesn’t automatically make one a politically Left progressive, but somehow I think Tim doesn’t understand that. The difference is a conservative believes individuals and businesses can do those things better which are not constitutionally assigned to government (national defense, etc.).
    entropysdesignrbeowulfschmidt
  • Reply 11 of 75
    HeliBumHeliBum Posts: 58member
    Being pro-environment, pro-immigration (not “illegal immigration”), capitalist, and a strong believer in privacy doesn’t automatically make one a politically Left progressive, but somehow I think Tim doesn’t understand that. The difference is a conservative believes individuals and businesses can do those things better which are not constitutionally assigned to government (national defense, etc.).
    Precisely. The Founding Fathers tried to make the federal government as limited in scope as possible by granting most governing power to the states.
    entropysSpamSandwichdesignrrandominternetperson
  • Reply 12 of 75
    monstrositymonstrosity Posts: 2,202member
    sacto joe said:
    HeliBum said:
    So, let me get this straight: Apple avoids appearing political by labeling certain social and environmental issues as non-political? Got it.
    Yes, I’m sure issues like pollution and equal rights appear political to you....
    They are. But it's not as simplistic as you put it. Equality of outcome, equality of opportunity, entirely different beasts and firmly political. 


    entropysSpamSandwichdesignr
  • Reply 13 of 75
    sacto joesacto joe Posts: 734member
    entropys said:
    Well they shouldn’t be, Sacto Joe. The methods used by government to manage them are very political though. That’s why everyone is so often at vicious disagreement about it.
     I was taught when young that when you have a problem you look at as wide a range of possible solutions and pick the least cost one. But that’s engineering.
    In politics, you choose the solution that accretes more power to you and your friends. This is rarely the least cost solution to other people.
    On pollution, schemes always seem to be poorly targeted, and costs are imposed and lifestyles reduced for a broader section of the community that the point source of the pollution. But almost invariably the design of the scheme also happens to benefit certain business groups who then get rich on government subsidy and other approaches to shield them from the market which might prefer other outcomes.  
    On equal rights, it isn’t equal if policies give automatic preference to particular entities. Such policies are by design, intended to give one identity group preference over another, the very crime they pretend to address.

    All I am saying is you cannot trust a politician claiming to solve a problem for you. Always ask what is in it for them and their friends. Especially when they are claiming a noble cause. Inevitably, the politician will be rigging things to either on the one hand give their mates privileged preference, on the other hand make it easier for their mates’ businesses, or on the gripping hand, best of all is to make things harder for their mates’ competitors. 

    Back on topic, of course this motion should be unsuccessful. It is no ones’ business what political preferences a director or executive has. It is about how good they are at their job.  Remember that works both ways of course. 

    First, let me say I appreciate the reasonableness of your manner. It’s getting rarer all the time.

    As regards the substance of your comment, let’s take a closer look:

    “Well they shouldn’t be, Sacto Joe.”

    We are in agreement that issues like pollution and equal rights shouldn’t be political. Tim Cook put it exactly right; they should be policy, not politics. Apple and Tim Cook do their level best to stay on the side of policy and avoid politics. The problem is, as you point out, that’s not always possible in the real world. 

    “The methods used by government to manage them are very political though.”

    Why? Because either “side” is free to politicise any issue.

    Take humans and global warming: It’s absolutely possible and acceptable for folks to disagree on the extent to which humans contribute to it, although it’s becoming less possible to maintain it’s not occurring, and/or that humans are not contributing to some degree.

    But what isn’t subject to simple opinion is the real possibility (increasingly a probability) that it may indeed be a fact. Unfortunately, when we turned to science to help us get an objective opinion, science itself was politicized!

    Why? It doesn’t take a lot of brainpower to see that there are short term winners if global warming can be obfuscated (Putin, for example). But it also doesn’t take a lot of brainpower to see that, if global warming is really being exacerbated by humans, then ignoring it would be a huge mistake that future generations would end up paying for.

    So why take the chance? Why not take out an insurance policy, especially since we can both afford it and make good jobs at the same time? It’s illogical to take any other position, and thus it supersedes politics. Hence, Apple’s “policy” on pollution.

    “I was taught when young that when you have a problem you look at as wide a range of possible solutions and pick the least cost one. But that’s engineering.”

    Well, actually, that’s not necessarily “engineering”. Engineering is problem solving, period. It doesn’t concern itself with only cost effectiveness. I remember the old machine shop joke: “You can have it right and cheap but it won’t be on time, or you can have it on time and cheap, but it won’t be right, or you can have it right and on time but it won’t be cheap. What you can’t have is all three.”

    “In politics, you choose the solution that accretes more power to you and your friends. This is rarely the least cost solution to other people.”

    Again, that’s the reality, not the ideal, and it doesn’t apply to all politicians all the time. We call those politicians “statesmen”.

    “On pollution, schemes always seem to be poorly targeted, and costs are imposed and lifestyles reduced for a broader section of the community that the point source of the pollution.”

    Why would you expect anything else coming from people who have different vested interests, thus leaving the only way forward a compromise? A camel, it is said, is a horse designed by a committee.

    “But almost invariably the design of the scheme also happens to benefit certain business groups who then get rich on government subsidy and other approaches to shield them from the market which might prefer other outcomes.”

    Government waste, like that of any large corporation, is inevitable. But you don’t shut down the company over that inevitability; you work to improve the efficiency and reduce the waste. Frankly, I’m old enough to remember the GOP when maximizing efficiency and limiting waste were their primary goals. Sadly, that’s long gone and sorely missed.

    “On equal rights, it isn’t equal if policies give automatic preference to particular entities. Such policies are by design, intended to give one identity group preference over another, the very crime they pretend to address.”

    The problem here is that, once again, it doesn’t take reality into account. We are a nation that in its early years grew prosperous on inequality, and sadly that hasn’t even come close to disappearing to this day. Hence, “policies” were initiated that attempted to even the scale after those great imbalances. That doesn’t mean two wrongs make a right. Injustice is still with us, and will be for more years than I’m happy about. But you can’t make a journey if you don’t take steps.

    “All I am saying is you cannot trust a politician claiming to solve a problem for you. Always ask what is in it for them and their friends. Especially when they are claiming a noble cause. Inevitably, the politician will be rigging things to either on the one hand give their mates privileged preference, on the other hand make it easier for their mates’ businesses, or on the gripping hand, best of all is to make things harder for their mates’ competitors.”

    I part ways on the “inevitably”. There are still statesmen around that put the people ahead of party or power.

    (I get the “gripping hand” reference.... Good one!)

    “Back on topic, of course this motion shoud be unsuccesful. It is no ones’ business what political preferences a director or executive has. It is about how good they are at their job.  Remember that works both ways of course.”

    I concur. The whole idea of an “ideological test” is an oxymoron. We are none of us pure ideologies, just like we are none of us simple beings.

    edited March 1 PickUrPoisontmaywaltg
  • Reply 14 of 75
    monstrositymonstrosity Posts: 2,202member
    Apple's biggest fan since the early nineties, but Tim Cook has turned me against the company. Google, Facebook and Apple hold too much power to have any political leanings. The moment they do they automatically become a threat to democracy. 
  • Reply 15 of 75
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 7,551member
    The SPLC is a "hate group"? Oh lord, how triggered these snowflakes are when people challenge their beliefs on an old book written by bronze-aged goat herders. Good grief!
    edited March 1 robbyxtmayGeorgeBMacrepressthisdysamoria1983fastasleep
  • Reply 16 of 75
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 7,551member
    HeliBum said:
    So, let me get this straight: Apple avoids appearing political by labeling certain social and environmental issues as non-political? Got it.
    You're confused -- there is nothing political about the environmental issues such as mineral mining, disposal of waste, reuse of materials, or man-made climate change. It's science, based on observation and evidence. Only the GOP denies man-made climate change...in the entire world. It's political to them, but simply fact to the rest of us guided by reason and not campaign donations.
    edited March 1 robbyxPickUrPoisontmaywaltgGeorgeBMacbshankrepressthisdysamoria1983lolliver
  • Reply 17 of 75
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 7,551member

    HeliBum said:
    Being pro-environment, pro-immigration (not “illegal immigration”), capitalist, and a strong believer in privacy doesn’t automatically make one a politically Left progressive, but somehow I think Tim doesn’t understand that. The difference is a conservative believes individuals and businesses can do those things better which are not constitutionally assigned to government (national defense, etc.).
    Precisely. The Founding Fathers tried to make the federal government as limited in scope as possible by granting most governing power to the states.
    And the states screwed it up so badly (see Civil War) that we as a nation decided to change how we as a nation work, because that is what the framework used to create this nation grants to the people of this nation. It was never expected that we would be bound to the decisions made by dead men from centuries ago...otherwise women couldn't vote and we'd still have slaves.
    edited March 1 robbyxdysamoria1983anome
  • Reply 18 of 75
    entropysentropys Posts: 1,698member
    I don’t think a fan of Euroweenies has any right to comment on American corporate structures. Euro arrangements are a good example of too much inbeddidness with a big government.

    That said, while I would disagree with anything that demands people expose their political preferences, I am also uncomfortable with Tim Cook’s rebuttal.  He is clearly making a political position for the company.

    Having quotas or preferences of different groups, providing different identities preferential selection is exactly the same policies as the shareholder, just different groups get to get hold of the loot.

    Imagine  this scenario:
    • a Texan executive in an oil company has made a name for himself creating innovative machinery to reduce the environmental impact of oil production, and has not been involved in politics until he was photographed wearing a red MAGA cap.
    • An activist who has successfully led a campaign to ensure equal representation of women on city boards, and vigorously participated in the Clinton 2016 campaign.
    Which one would be more likely to be employed as a VP at a famous California Fruit Company? Who would be constantly harranged for that photograph?

    Now , truth  to tell the second one would be a good cultural fit in Apple for a whole host of reasons that have nothing to do with product development, but let’s not pretend that politics aren’t influencing selection.

    the other thing I am really uncomfortable with is this call for government regulation of Facebook and google.  These companies do what they do, people go along with it.  Let’s not pretend that Apple is calling for regulation that don’t just happen to also result in financial gain for Apple. Always be suspicious of companies calling for regulation of their competitors. That is the path to fascism.  

    randominternetperson
  • Reply 19 of 75
    chasmchasm Posts: 1,515member
    Being pro-environment, pro-immigration (not “illegal immigration”), capitalist, and a strong believer in privacy doesn’t automatically make one a politically Left progressive, but somehow I think Tim doesn’t understand that. The difference is a conservative believes individuals and businesses can do those things better which are not constitutionally assigned to government (national defense, etc.).
    Yes, that is what conservatives used to believe, a very long time ago.

    I would refer you to the voting record of "conservatives" in Congress since 1980 or so to see if that matches up to the doctrine you espouse, and also if -- when "businesses and individuals" do in fact get a chance to do some of the above-mentioned issues (environmental self-regulation, privacy self-regulation, immigration, capitalistic self-regulation) -- your theorem about their ability to do it better holds any water.
    edited March 1 robbyxtmaydysamoriafastasleep
  • Reply 20 of 75
    entropysentropys Posts: 1,698member
    Sure, the republicans and Democrats talk a big game, but truth is they have more in common with each other than the people. Establishment Republicans talk the talk and do the opposite.  Democrats talk about the poor but somehow become filthy rich in public service.  
    Hence the rise of Mules like Trump. He isn’t one of them, and that is enough for many people.

    The trick is to make sure you aren’t a pawn, a useful idiot to use the Soviet term,  of any of them. Think for yourself.
    waltgdesignrcgWerks
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