Apple's annual shareholder meeting tackling conservative fears, China, equality, & AI

Posted:
in General Discussion edited February 27

Apple's annual shareholder meeting is being held on February 28, with shareholder proposals pushing for transparency from Apple on AI and addressing concerns held by conservative politicians, but Apple advises voting "against."

An image of Apple Park at night. The circular building has a yellow glow with a drone shot from the side.
Shareholder meeting to be held on February 28



The annual shareholder meeting exists so Apple and shareholders can discuss how the company is operating and meeting goals. It is being held on February 28 and topics include CEO Tim Cook's compensation and voting for new board members.

There's a third proposal from Apple -- a vote to ratify the appointment of Ernst & Young as Apple's independent registered public accounting firm for 2024. The three management proposals, which include the board member vote and compensation vote, are all recommended for shareholders to vote "for."

There are five shareholder proposals, all of which Apple's board recommends voting against. These proposals run the gamut from requesting transparency regarding the use of AI to multiple concerns shared by conservative viewpoints.

The following is summarized from Apple's SEC filing.

Proposal No. 4: EEO Policy Risk Report



The National Center for Public Policy Research requests that Apple issue a public report detailing the potential risks associated with omitting "viewpoint" and "ideology" from its written equal employment opportunity (EEO) policy. It is feared that Apple doesn't explicitly prohibit discrimination based on viewpoint or ideology.

The proposal suggests that this lack of language from the EEO policy has led to "ample evidence that individuals with conservative viewpoints may face discrimination at Apple."

Apple recommends voting against Proposition No. 4 because such a report wouldn't provide material additional information. The company states it already nurtures a culture where every great idea can be heard and where everyone belongs.

Proposal No. 5: Report on Ensuring Respect for Civil Liberties



The American Family Association is "concerned at recent reports of Apple arbitrarily limiting content access within its online services." The proposal suggests Apple is aiding the Chinese Communist Party in limiting information by removing popular Quran and Bible applications from the App Store in China.

The Apple logo superimposed on a stock market chart showing price growth
Apple's annual shareholder meeting includes votes on a range of issues



In addition, the proposal suggests Apple's alleged threat to remove X was a "seemingly political swipe" characterized by conservative lawmakers as a "raw exercise of monopolistic power."

Apple's board advises voting against Proposal No. 5 since it must comply with local laws and mentions it works hard to prevent illegal content from ending up on a country's storefront. The company already details its standards and procedures to curate apps and details government orders to take down apps.

Proposal No. 6: Racial and Gender Pay Gaps



Arjuna Capital's Anmol Mehra requests Apple provide a report on median pay gaps across race and gender. It is believed that Apple's report on adjusted gaps, while ignoring unadjusted gaps, doesn't address structural bias for women and minorities regarding opportunity and pay.

Apple's board advises voting against Proposal No. 6 since it already provides a robust disclosure of employee makeup via the Inclusion and Diversity website. The company also asserts that it has achieved gender pay equity globally, as well as pay equity by race and ethnicity in the United States.

Proposal No. 7: Report on Use of AI



AFL-CIO Equity Index Funds requests that Apple prepare a transparency report on the company's use of Artificial Intelligence and disclose ethical guidelines regarding the technology. It is feared that the use of AI could lead to discrimination, mass layoffs, or dissemination of false information if left unchecked without guidelines.

An image combining the Siri sphere and ChatGPT logo
Apple is working on AI for iOS 18



Apple's board advises voting against Proposal No. 7 because it is too broad and could encompass disclosure of strategic plans and initiatives harmful to competitive position. Also, Apple states it already provides resources and transparency to using artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Proposal No. 8: Congruency Report on Privacy and Human Rights



The National Legal and Policy Center requests that Apple provide a report analyzing if Apple's privacy and human rights policy positions are being enforced universally. The proposal cites limiting AirDrop in China and ceasing the sale of products in Russia as measures that don't match Apple's policies.

Apple's board advises voting against Proposal No. 8 because it respects human rights and is transparent about its approach to complex situations like government requests. The requested report wouldn't provide additional material information.

Shareholders get a chance to vote on February 28, 2024, at 12 p.m. Eastern Time. To attend, vote, and submit questions during the meeting, visit Apple's meeting portal and enter the control number in your Notice of Internet Availability of Proxy Materials, voting instruction form, or proxy card.



Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 16

    Stop spreading the “conservative“ lie.

    Some reporters and news outlets have fallen into the lazy trope of using the word “conservative“ where it is inaccurate, does not apply to the subject being discussed, and is sometimes expressing the exact opposite of what is actually happening in the article. 

    The word “conservative“ has been used as Orwellian cover for groups that are more accurately described as “radical“, “right-wing”, or “extremist“. 

    The word “conservative” is a subjective term which is loaded and biased in favor of those described as such. Reporters who are interested in conveying a complete and accurate picture of the story they are reporting will avoid the use of the word “conservative“ in general, and more specifically where it paints a picture that is the opposite of reality. 


    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Family_Association#Criticism_and_controversy

    Ofermattinozthtdewmemknelson
  • Reply 2 of 16
    mattinozmattinoz Posts: 2,316member
    ilarynx said:

    Stop spreading the “conservative“ lie.

    Some reporters and news outlets have fallen into the lazy trope of using the word “conservative“ where it is inaccurate, does not apply to the subject being discussed, and is sometimes expressing the exact opposite of what is actually happening in the article. 

    The word “conservative“ has been used as Orwellian cover for groups that are more accurately described as “radical“, “right-wing”, or “extremist“. 

    The word “conservative” is a subjective term which is loaded and biased in favor of those described as such. Reporters who are interested in conveying a complete and accurate picture of the story they are reporting will avoid the use of the word “conservative“ in general, and more specifically where it paints a picture that is the opposite of reality. 


    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Family_Association#Criticism_and_controversy

    Hasn't "Conservative" always meant radical, aggressive, and extreme protection of self-interest regardless of how lawfully obtained? 
    I mean, they seem Orwellian, or indeed many authors who warmed us proceeding him, because these groups have been acting the same way for centuries. 
    muthuk_vanalingamdanoxwilliamlondonWesley Hilliard
  • Reply 3 of 16
    Wesley HilliardWesley Hilliard Posts: 190member, administrator, moderator, editor
    ilarynx said:

    Stop spreading the “conservative“ lie.

    To say extremist would imply these are all outliers. They are not. These are the rhetoric of the party in the United States today. Be it about China, censorship, etc. Every one of these talking points are top of the list for conservatives. The AFA in this case may be an extremist group, but it is acting on the basis of today's conservative political spectrum. There was nothing extremist about their complaints surrounding China since it's been repeated by many in the Republican Party.

    If your argument is that this is all extremist and the people running the country as Republicans are in fact extremists and not true representations of conservative values, then sure, I agree. It's a weird world we live in. 

    I've never heard the word conservative described as "Orwellian cover." I understand it as a synonym for modern US "right-wing" "republican" etc. It's literally a group that values traditional ideals and pursues keeping things like "the good old days." It's the basis of the current Republican Party.

    You act as if it is a slur. The word is meant to be broad by definition. It captures the mindset of nearly half the country. Sadly that half is pretty radicalized these days, if I'm being frank. I will say that doesn't apply to *everyone* that's in right wing politics, but the radicalized conservative is the poster child of that side of the party lines. Being centrist kind of died around 2014 (and will return with a vengeance, as has always been the cycle in politics).

    I'm always happy to have level headed conversation about these matters. If you are not able to discuss these matters in a civil manner, I do suggest you take your comments to email or keep them to yourselves. This is just a friendly warning, no one has said anything mean or out of place yet, I just know how these discussions can go.
    dewmebyronldanoxwilliamlondon
  • Reply 4 of 16
    Wesley HilliardWesley Hilliard Posts: 190member, administrator, moderator, editor
    cashxx said:

    As said earlier "loaded and biased".
    I'm removing this comment. It's just incendiary babble. If you need to discuss this with me, feel free to email me directly. There's no reason to try and start a political argument.

    There is stuff in the upcoming shareholders meeting worth discussing. Don't make us take down the comment thread because everyone wants to go off the deep end with conspiracy theories. That goes for everyone.

    Thanks.
    dewmewilliamlondon
  • Reply 5 of 16
    ilarynx said:

    Stop spreading the “conservative“ lie.

    It's literally a group that values traditional ideals and pursues keeping things like "the good old days." It's the basis of the current Republican Party .

    You act as if it is a slur. The word is meant to be broad by definition. It captures the mindset of nearly half the country. Sadly that half is pretty radicalized these days, if I'm being frank. I will say that doesn't apply to *everyone* that's in right wing politics, but the radicalized conservative is the poster child of that side of the party lines. Being centrist kind of died around 2014 (and will return with a vengeance, as has always been the cycle in politics).
    Wow, this is the same situation in my country as well. Replace "Republican" with "BJP", the above portion of your post perfectly illustrates what is heppening here in India as well. And I hope that your last line materializes sooner (rather than later) here in India.
  • Reply 6 of 16
    I am really surprised that the company performance and guidance do not seem to be highlighted. 

    Here, we are only talking about gender pay gap, civiel liberties, human rights etc.?

    I would be interested:

    1) How is the current situation in China? How can Apple overcome the headwind facing in China? What are their strategies?
    2) What are Apple´s strategies to boost their revenue growth? The revenue growth is tanking from year to year (only +2% in 2023). 
    3) What does Apple try to bring for iPhone 16 and other wearables for their sales growth?
    4) What is Apple´s AI strategy in the future?
    5) What is the possible outcome from EU and DOJ? Can Chrome remain on iOS? If not, what kind of impacts does it give on Apple's financial performance?

    I hope Tim Cook and the board members will be challenged and sensibilized.

    Thanks!
    edited February 27 williamlondon
  • Reply 7 of 16
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,861administrator
    I am really surprised that the company performance and guidance do not seem to be highlighted. 

    Here, we are only talking about gender pay gap, civiel liberties, human rights etc.?

    I would be interested:

    1) How is the current situation in China? How can Apple overcome the headwind facing in China? What are their strategies?
    2) What are Apple´s strategies to boost their revenue growth? The revenue growth is tanking from year to year (only +2% in 2023). 
    3) What does Apple try to bring for iPhone 16 and other wearables for their sales growth?
    4) What is Apple´s AI strategy in the future?
    5) What is the possible outcome from EU and DOJ? Can Chrome remain on iOS? If not, what kind of impacts does it give on Apple's financial performance?

    I hope Tim Cook and the board members will be challenged and sensibilized.

    Thanks!
    Other than maybe China, they’re not going to talk about any of these, saying something like ‘we don’t comment on unannounced products.’
    byronlwilliamlondon
  • Reply 8 of 16
    I am really surprised that the company performance and guidance do not seem to be highlighted. 

    Here, we are only talking about gender pay gap, civiel liberties, human rights etc.?

    I would be interested:

    1) How is the current situation in China? How can Apple overcome the headwind facing in China? What are their strategies?
    2) What are Apple´s strategies to boost their revenue growth? The revenue growth is tanking from year to year (only +2% in 2023). 
    3) What does Apple try to bring for iPhone 16 and other wearables for their sales growth?
    4) What is Apple´s AI strategy in the future?
    5) What is the possible outcome from EU and DOJ? Can Chrome remain on iOS? If not, what kind of impacts does it give on Apple's financial performance?

    I hope Tim Cook and the board members will be challenged and sensibilized.

    Thanks!
    Other than maybe China, they’re not going to talk about any of these, saying something like ‘we don’t comment on unannounced products.’
    It sounds like AAPL has no idea at all what to say or how to say. 
    edited February 27 williamlondon
  • Reply 9 of 16
    I have had a pretty sizable chunk of Apple stock for many years and had always hoped for a meeting invite. I’ve gotten two or three notifications of meetings in the past, but never an actual pass to the event. Am I missing something?
  • Reply 10 of 16
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,861administrator
    I have had a pretty sizable chunk of Apple stock for many years and had always hoped for a meeting invite. I’ve gotten two or three notifications of meetings in the past, but never an actual pass to the event. Am I missing something?
    Your shareholder vote package should have a control number for you to log in to the stream. But as far as going to the meeting? No idea.
  • Reply 11 of 16
    danoxdanox Posts: 2,853member
    Apple is holding its own in China, South Korea, and Japan, both China and Japan are bigger markets for Apple by themselves than the entire EU with 27 countries. Which is why the EU is over playing its hand towards Apple they (the EU) make up less 19% of Apples hardware devices and are only 7% of its Appstore sales in the world.
  • Reply 12 of 16
    Holy cow the comments about conservatives are at the same time hilarious, astonishing, and dreadful.  You guys seem to have no idea what you’re talking about, plain and simple.  I’m not surprised that we can’t have a debate across the political divide today, because when you describe conservative voters as “radicalized”, you’re labeling a group of citizens based labels and name calling, not on the fundamental ideas and policies they champion. 
    danox
  • Reply 13 of 16
    mattinozmattinoz Posts: 2,316member
    toddzrx said:
    Holy cow the comments about conservatives are at the same time hilarious, astonishing, and dreadful.  You guys seem to have no idea what you’re talking about, plain and simple.  I’m not surprised that we can’t have a debate across the political divide today, because when you describe conservative voters as “radicalized”, you’re labeling a group of citizens based labels and name calling, not on the fundamental ideas and policies they champion. 
    They champion no ideas and consistent policies that have been shown not to have the effect they claim to have, often very much the reverse (ie health policies that produce worse health outcomes than the status quo). Further, they don't adapt to evidence and understanding from study or practice. 
    So either they willfully commit fraud (given those in control directly materially benefit) or aren't intellectually capable of debating ideas.

    If there are genuine "Conservatives" that differ from the above, then they are the ones who should be calling out what is being done in their name. History suggests they don't exist in any significant numbers outside of temperance advocates in otherwise progressive groups.  

    Apple shouldn't be pandering to them because history is pretty clear: everything they influence regresses. 

    thtdanoxmuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 14 of 16
    ilarynx said:

    Stop spreading the “conservative“ lie.

    To say extremist would imply these are all outliers. They are not. These are the rhetoric of the party in the United States today. Be it about China, censorship, etc. Every one of these talking points are top of the list for conservatives. The AFA in this case may be an extremist group, but it is acting on the basis of today's conservative political spectrum. There was nothing extremist about their complaints surrounding China since it's been repeated by many in the Republican Party.

    If your argument is that this is all extremist and the people running the country as Republicans are in fact extremists and not true representations of conservative values, then sure, I agree. It's a weird world we live in. 

    I've never heard the word conservative described as "Orwellian cover." I understand it as a synonym for modern US "right-wing" "republican" etc. It's literally a group that values traditional ideals and pursues keeping things like "the good old days." It's the basis of the current Republican Party.

    You act as if it is a slur. The word is meant to be broad by definition. It captures the mindset of nearly half the country. Sadly that half is pretty radicalized these days, if I'm being frank. I will say that doesn't apply to *everyone* that's in right wing politics, but the radicalized conservative is the poster child of that side of the party lines. Being centrist kind of died around 2014 (and will return with a vengeance, as has always been the cycle in politics).

    I'm always happy to have level headed conversation about these matters. If you are not able to discuss these matters in a civil manner, I do suggest you take your comments to email or keep them to yourselves. This is just a friendly warning, no one has said anything mean or out of place yet, I just know how these discussions can go.

    I understand and appreciate the heads-up. 

    In the hope of providing some clarification, your 2nd paragraph is closest to target.  ;^)

    These may not all be extremists or outliers, but only when viewed from the perspective within their own “conservative political spectrum” as you note. I think it’s an easier argument to make that they are not all conservative from the perspective of the country as a whole. 

    The dictionary definition of the word “conservative” is a relative term. Even using the political definition, depending on the perspective from which you are viewing, the label of “conservative” can be either accurate or “weird”. If your perspective is solely that of the GOP from within that party (noting that the party was not brought up either in the original article or my comment), then with that caveat, the word “conservative” would be less weird and more accurate. 

    However, if you broaden your perspective outside of that party today and expand it to the nation as a whole, or even view it from the perspective of the party in past years (try Eisenhower or Goldwater, or to a lesser degree, Reagan), then the word “conservative” becomes more weird and less accurate. 

    If I can wink at Godwin for a moment to provide an analogy, the view of the party in power in 1939 Berlin would not be considered extremist from within Berlin, but quite extreme from the perspective of most areas well outside of Berlin. A label of a party that simply describes the party as it sees itself from the “spectrum” within the party has little meaning. Just call the party by its actual name. Then you’re not interjecting a judgement about it. (But the article didn’t mention party, just “conservative fears” among the other points.) 

    Regardless of whether you view this article as an example of misusing the word, the general problem with labeling extremists as “conservative” is that it does provide Orwellian cover for their rhetoric and actions. It helps to normalize abnormal behavior. It nudges the Overton Window further to the right. It also inevitably results in absurdisms and oxymorons such as “radical conservative” - words that are polar opposites of each other. Weird!


    Your article is a good one and I should have noted that up front. My quibble is with the (mis)use of the word “conservative” that I know others may not agree with. 

    I appreciate your measured and thoughtful response, Wesley, and appreciate you letting me air my perspective, even if we agree to disagree with each other. 

    iL

    P.S. Referenced points from the article (with my descriptions):

    #4 - The NCPPR is a right-wing crank group who continually displays tantrums at Apple shareholder events - 

    https://appleinsider.com/articles/16/02/23/apple-under-fire-from-ncppr-over-hypocrisy-on-the-issue-of-religious-freedom

    https://www.businessinsider.com/tim-cook-versus-a-conservative-think-tank-2014-2

    #5 - The right-wing AFA as noted in original comment.

    #6 & #7 - The “Equality” and “AI” portions of the headline respectively.

    #8 - The NLPC is another “self-described conservative group” funded by the usual right-wing suspects in addition to those secret funders hidden from public view - 

    https://appleinsider.com/articles/23/02/24/nlpc-seeks-to-kick-tim-cook-al-gore-from-apple-board-of-directors

    https://www.influencewatch.org/non-profit/the-national-legal-and-policy-center-nlpc/


  • Reply 15 of 16
    Wesley HilliardWesley Hilliard Posts: 190member, administrator, moderator, editor
    ilarynx said:

    Your article is a good one and I should have noted that up front. My quibble is with the (mis)use of the word “conservative” that I know others may not agree with. 

    I appreciate your measured and thoughtful response, Wesley, and appreciate you letting me air my perspective, even if we agree to disagree with each other. 

    Funny enough we don't disagree. I misunderstood your comment because the term "Orwellian cover" flew over my head. Your description makes total sense and I agree.

    However, we're reporting the news and the groups identify as conservative. It's not our place as a tech publication to break down the nuance of that particular situation. We have to focus on the story or it'll get lost in our attempt to pull out and explain every nuanced detail. We have to give some benefit of the doubt to the reader, like you, which should know what kind of groups we're dealing with in this article. It's why I call them out by name. 

    Those who know what those groups are don't need explanation. Those who want to know can search for their name and find out. It removes some of the opinion and bias from the story and allows it to focus on the facts.

    In this case, it is multiple groups of self-identified "conservative" groups pushing these agendas at Apple's meeting. Our headline has to be human readable and convey the important details. If it was "extremist groups hound Apple about China and censorship" then everyone would be talking about how AppleInsider just called these groups extremist and the original story would be lost.

    Conservative is broad, which is why it fits, even if there's nuance to what we're saying. In this case they are technically conservative groups, but only by claim and in the most broad and basic sense of the concept. The absolute edge of that term.

    We can disagree on the use here. That's no big deal.

    AppleInsider isn't interested in being a political news website beyond what is necessary to convey tech news.

    Glad we had this chat.
    ilarynx
  • Reply 16 of 16

    We can disagree on the use here. That's no big deal.
    Fair enough. I know that moderating these comments must be a royal pain and I appreciate you taking the time to follow up with your perspective. It's a logical position.  

     Thanks again. 

    (For future reference, please note that I self-identify as "wise and all-knowing".)

    ;^)
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