Apple shareholder meeting dominated by politics

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
Apple's annual shareholder meeting was dominated, as usual, by groups using the event as a soapbox for furthering their political agenda. Apple COO Tim Cook only answered a couple real questions from individuals, and the crowd sang out happy birthday to Steve Jobs, who was away on medical leave.



The hour long meeting was consumed by four largely symbolic shareholder proposals that failed to pass in a preliminary tally of votes, each of which was rallied against by Shelton Ehrlich, a staunch conservative who grew increasingly upset as he voiced his opinions on various measures.



Ehrlich's comments began during the discussion on reelecting the board of directors, where he complained about criminal conspiracies related to Al Gore. He again commented on the first shareholder proposal, which was advanced by the Teamsters union seeking a more complete report on all any expenses related to political contributions or memberships of trade organizations. Ehrlich said it was hypocritical for the Teamsers to demand transparent funding, but then tied together another conspiracy involving President Obama before giving up the microphone.

Ehrlich also commented on a second proposal forwarded by the AFL-CIO, which asked the company to adopt health care reform policies. Ehrlich managed to start what became an ongoing joke by fuming that the measure was being pushed by ?socialists here? before swearing and then excusing himself to get a drink.



A third proposal asked the company to report more extensively on its efforts related to climate change, and a fourth requested the company to initiate a shareholder advisory vote on executive compensation. The presenter also grilled the board, demanding to know the company's succession plans related to Jobs. He also complained that members of the board had been protected by Jobs from such direct interrogation at earlier meetings by Jobs.



Apple board member Arthur Levinson, who is also the CEO of Genentech, answered by saying, ?we believe we have met all disclosure obligations,? and commented that since he joined the board nearly a decade ago, there have been regular discussions about the company's succession plans, and that the matter is one of the primary duties of boards to attend to in general. Members of the tech media have frequently reported that Apple has no succession plan, as if the company was completely unaware of what might happen if Jobs became unable to return to his regular duties after his medical leave.



Levinson also noted that Jobs ?is deeply involved in all strategic matters and has delegated day to day authority to Tim Cook and his team. That?s where it stands.? After the measure to reelect members of the board passed and all four shareholder proposals failed, the floor was opened up to general comments prefaced by comments from the COO.



The part of Steve Jobs will be played by Cook



Cook presented a terse overview of the company's recent successes, noting that four years ago the company's revenues were at 8 billion, but last year multiplied four fold to reach 32 billion. Net income increased to 4.8 billion, 18 times the number from four years prior.



Mac sales had reached 9.7 million last year, Cook noted, a 38% increase and two to three times the industry pace, while iPod sales had hit 55 million, gaining share in markets around the world. The iPhone also exceeded the ten million target set for calendar 2008, reaching sales of 13.7 million.



Cook attributed the company's success to ?employees [who] worked their hearts out.? He also noted that Apple climbed to the top of the music reseller business, asking ?do you know who number two is? Wal-Mart! Can you believe that Apple sold more of something than Wal-Mart??



The success of the iPhone App Store has become the ?envy of the industry,? Cook said, while the company's brick and mortar retail efforts were resulting in one new store per week, and the company's first new outlets in Australia, China, Switzerland, and Germany this year. Cook also noted that Apple was the top notebook provider to education, in both K-12 and higher ed.



Scant opportunity for shareholder questions



Cook then called for public comments, saying he was happy to live in a country with freedom of speech and invited ?conservatives, socialists, and liberals? to approach the microphones. The general questions period was again dominated by the presenters of the failed shareholder proposals, but only after an individual thanked the company for its efforts to build great products and suggested that, with Steve Jobs likely listening, the group might want to sing him a happy birthday. Jobs' turned 54 yesterday. Everyone stood up and sang.



Another individual asked why Apple had canceled plans to attend Macworld, suggesting the company at least set up a small booth next year. Cook responded that everyone at Apple has ?fond memories of Macworld,? but recounted the reality that Apple's investment in retail has resulted in visitor numbers on a weekly basis equivalent to ?many Macworlds,? and that the company can now call press conferences right when the company is ready for them and gain the press coverage that once required a trade show event.



A Mac user asked why the company only targets the needs of entry-level consumers with iLife rather than relying on third parties to provide midrange and professional apps such as web tools. Cook deferred the question to Phil Schiller, who affably thanked her for being a customer and noted that the company does make Pro Apps for certain markets. Schiller also noted that the market for web creation tools was changing, and that it considers Adobe a strong partner and has no plans to build a professional web page tool of its own.



The rest of the commenters, most of whom identified themselves as 'not being socialist,? were largely a rehashing of the same issues from the presenters of the failed shareholder proposals. Cook promptly cut off questions from remaining individuals after the meeting reached its hour length.



The company had moved members of the press into a secondary overflow auditorium to prevent the meeting from turning into a press conference, but several shareholders in attendance expressed dissatisfaction with the company for only seeing fit to grant shareholders a very short few minutes each year to comment and query executives, particularly after spending so much time granting a podium to special interests pushing agendas that have regularly been rejected by the majority of the company's shareholders.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 109
    teckstudteckstud Posts: 6,476member
    It certainly is a new Apple without SJ and in an Obama nation. Cook doesn't seem very inspiring by what this article reports.
  • Reply 2 of 109
    Sounds like they should buy back Shelton Urlick's stock and avoid a complete takeover of these meetings by him.
  • Reply 3 of 109
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Urlick's comments began during the discussion on reelecting the board of directors, where he complained about criminal conspiracies related to Al Gore. He again commented on the first shareholder proposal, which was advanced by the Teamsters union seeking a more complete report on all any expenses related to political contributions or memberships of trade organizations. Urlick said it was hypocritical for the Teamsers to demand transparent funding, but then tied together another conspiracy involving President Obama before giving up the microphone.



    Just... wow... I love how conservatives are trying their hardest to bring McCarthyism back by using "socialism" as a fear tactic. FYI: social democracy is alive and well for health care in the U.K., Canada, Sweden, Germany - need I go on? Having a fit during an Apple shareholders meeting, swearing and stomping off only demonstrates the frustration and immaturity of their ilk. Leave it out of Apple...
  • Reply 4 of 109
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,268member
    Quote:

    A Mac user asked why the company only targets the needs of entry-level consumers with iLife rather than relying on third parties to provide midrange and professional apps such as web tools. Cook deferred the question to Phil Schiller, who affably thanked her for being a customer and noted that the company does make Pro Apps for certain markets. Schiller also noted that the market for web creation tools was changing, and that it considers Adobe a strong partner and has no plans to build a professional web page tool of its own.



    I think this is a bit shortsighted. I wouldn't necessarily call Adobe a strong partner for standard web tools. AIR isn't bad but Flash is as much bad as it is good. I don't expect Adobe to deliver web standard features of HTML5 that conflict with AIR/Flash.



    Though there's hope with Coda and Espresso on the lower end.
  • Reply 5 of 109
    irnchrizirnchriz Posts: 1,588member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post


    I think this is a bit shortsighted. I wouldn't necessarily call Adobe a strong partner for standard web tools. AIR isn't bad but Flash is as much bad as it is good. I don't expect Adobe to deliver web standard features of HTML5 that conflict with AIR/Flash.



    Though there's hope with Coda and Espresso on the lower end.



    Don't you think that Phil Schiller was referring to Adobe Creative suite products rather than AIR.



    Dreamweaver

    Cold Fusion

    and Flash



    These are the Pro apps that he is referring to and that Apple won't be making competing products against.
  • Reply 6 of 109
    cu10cu10 Posts: 294member
    Is this the beginning of the end for Apple?
  • Reply 7 of 109
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by teckstud View Post


    It certainly is a new Apple without SJ and in an Obama nation. Cook doesn't seem very inspiring by what this article reports.



    Didn't know that a stockholder meeting was a place for "inspiration". I think the numbers speak for themselves. I walk into the local Apple store and the products inspire by themselves.
  • Reply 8 of 109
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by CJD2112 View Post


    Just... wow... I love how conservatives are trying their hardest to bring McCarthyism back by using "socialism" as a fear tactic. FYI: social democracy is alive and well for health care in the U.K., Canada, Sweden, Germany - need I go on? Having a fit during an Apple shareholders meeting, swearing and stomping off only demonstrates the frustration and immaturity of their ilk. Leave it out of Apple...





    The only thing that Obama forgot to announce in his speech last night was the cure for cancer.

    Really, now, politics should have no role in the private sector's approach to innovation with computing. If the government had a hand in the development of the computer we'd all still be using IIe's.

  • Reply 9 of 109
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Gyokuro View Post


    The only thing that Obama forgot to announce in his speech last night was the cure for cancer.

    Really, now, politics should have no role in the private sector's approach to innovation with computing. If the government had a hand in the development of the computer we'd all still be using IIe's.





    An Apple IIe is far too generous. If government were involved, we would be using the slide rule and an abacus.
  • Reply 10 of 109
    jimzipjimzip Posts: 444member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by CU10 View Post


    Is this the beginning of the end for Apple?



    No.



    Jimzip
  • Reply 11 of 109
    wigginwiggin Posts: 2,265member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Gyokuro View Post


    The only thing that Obama forgot to announce in his speech last night was the cure for cancer.

    Really, now, politics should have no role in the private sector's approach to innovation with computing. If the government had a hand in the development of the computer we'd all still be using IIe's.





    Actually, he DID announce the goal of developing a cure for cancer during his speech last night.
  • Reply 12 of 109
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by CJD2112 View Post


    Just... wow... I love how conservatives are trying their hardest to bring McCarthyism back by using "socialism" as a fear tactic. FYI: social democracy is alive and well for health care in the U.K., Canada, Sweden, Germany - need I go on? Having a fit during an Apple shareholders meeting, swearing and stomping off only demonstrates the frustration and immaturity of their ilk. Leave it out of Apple...



    All those countries you mention pay HIGH taxes, a contractor I work with is from Canada and he is still a citizen and works here due to the high taxes he would have to pay there.



    Obama is pushing a socialist agenda.



    However I don't need to hear a political speech every time someone is on a stage, from the stupid Grammy Awards to a private company shareholder meeting.









    I already have to listen to the guy at work go on about how BUSH flew the planes into the towers on 9-11 (ok..Bush only was at air traffic control), to how Bush was having Black Ops tack out Dems. Haha
  • Reply 13 of 109
    gqbgqb Posts: 1,934member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Gyokuro View Post


    The only thing that Obama forgot to announce in his speech last night was the cure for cancer.

    Really, now, politics should have no role in the private sector's approach to innovation with computing. If the government had a hand in the development of the computer we'd all still be using IIe's.





    um, care to stop and think about the government's roll in the development and funding of the internet, not to mention the fact that the entire miniaturization that led to the computer industry came straight from the space program?

    Get off the 'government can do no good' meme.
  • Reply 14 of 109
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by GQB View Post


    um, care to stop and think about the government's roll in the development and funding of the internet, not to mention the fact that the entire miniaturization that led to the computer industry came straight from the space program?

    Get off the 'government can do no good' meme.





    That was back before over half the budget was spent on social programs.

    But in its current bloated form all it does is hinder.
  • Reply 15 of 109
    e1618978e1618978 Posts: 6,074member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MissionGrey View Post


    All those countries you mention pay HIGH taxes, a contractor I work with is from Canada and he is still a citizen and works here due to the high taxes he would have to pay there.



    Canadian taxes are slightly lower than US taxes, at least at the federal level, and at least in the highest tax bracket. Your friend probably left Canada before they lowered taxes.



    http://www.taxtips.ca/taxrates/canada.htm
  • Reply 16 of 109
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,268member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by irnchriz View Post


    Don't you think that Phil Schiller was referring to Adobe Creative suite products rather than AIR.



    Dreamweaver

    Cold Fusion

    and Flash



    These are the Pro apps that he is referring to and that Apple won't be making competing products against.



    I don't really know. Dreamweaver is a nice app but it seems to make sense to have a iWeb Pro that focuses on Apple's agenda of utilizing open web standards. I certainly wouldn't expect Cold Fusion/Flash like apps from Apple.
  • Reply 17 of 109
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Gyokuro View Post


    If the government had a hand in the development of the computer we'd all still be using IIe's.





    Yeah except for that whole mostly-worthless "internet" thing that developed out of ARPANET.



    On a side note, the whole "Government is bad so let's minimize it's role in everything except defense and the enforcement of Christian theocratic "morality" through "obscenity" censorship laws, anti-sodomy/oral sex laws, anti-homosexuality and anti-gay marriage laws, banning alcohol sales on Sundays, anti-abortion (even in the case of incest and/or rape) laws, anti-stem cell research laws, pro-creationism and anti-evolution "academic freedom" laws". mythos of the modern conservative movement is getting really tiring. I think most people agree that the Federal government is a necessary force and should be IMPROVED and made more EFFICIENT (not necessarily enlarged), not dismantled. Also, it's funny how republicans are screaming about "big government" and the national debt after 8 years of bush presiding over the largest expansion of federal government and the largest expansion of the national debt in a generation!
  • Reply 18 of 109
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by teckstud View Post


    It certainly is a new Apple without SJ and in an Obama nation. Cook doesn't seem very inspiring by what this article reports.



    Again, you are first on the thread, your comment is exclusively negative, and ties together completely disparate weirdness for no apparent purpose and with no apparent meaning.





    Personally, it sounded kind of fun to me and Cook sounded exactly like he always does which is pretty close to exactly how Steve Jobs sounds. I had heard it was a dull meeting but this article makes it sound better than that.



    Nice to hear that Steve Jobs is not at deaths door as Enderle reported just the other day and that people regularly comment about on this forum. Take that, all you losers that regularly drop hints that you "know" that Steve Jobs isn't coming back to Apple.

  • Reply 19 of 109
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by winterspan View Post


    Yeah except for that whole mostly-worthless "internet" thing that developed out of ARPANET.



    On a side note, the whole "Government is bad so let's minimize it's role in everything except defense and the enforcement of Christian theocratic "morality" through "obscenity" censorship laws, anti-sodomy/oral sex laws, anti-homosexuality and anti-gay marriage laws, banning alcohol sales on Sundays, anti-abortion (even in the case of incest and/or rape) laws, anti-stem cell research laws, pro-creationism and anti-evolution "academic freedom" laws". mythos of the modern conservative movement is getting really tiring. I think most people agree that the Federal government is a necessary force and should be IMPROVED and made more EFFICIENT, not dismantled.



    Word!
  • Reply 20 of 109
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by GQB View Post


    um, care to stop and think about the government's roll in the development and funding of the internet, not to mention the fact that the entire miniaturization that led to the computer industry came straight from the space program?

    Get off the 'government can do no good' meme.



    By government, do you mean Military? Black Budget funding has been going on for decades. The creation of the internet was a result of the need for communication in the event of a nuclear holocaust. Miniaturization originated in the military. Let's not forget now that Google is in bed with NASA.

    Exciting things ahead for tech., depending on your perspective.
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