.by Anura Guruge
Apple and I go back a long time, and we have had, even by my weird standards a very strange relationship.
I have owned AAPL, in various amounts, since 2007 — when my then 83-year old neighbor, who alas died a few weeks later, put the notion in my head that I should buy AAPL when he told me: ‘I told my granddaughter to buy even 1 share of Apple if she could’! He, an ex-FAA airport inspector, was a very shrewd and canny man. It was February 2007, it was cold, there was snow on the ground, and he had come to visit me in his new motorized chair. He was a riot.
So, I really can’t complain about AAPL. In 2007 I bought it for less than $100. Plus, over the years I have played a lot of options on it.
But, we don’t have any Apple products. In 1998, I had 8 Macs in the house and I was a huge proponent of Apple and hated Windows. But, because of some seminars I was doing, where I had to use Windows PowerPoint, I was forced to get a PC. I had stopped using PCs about 5 years ago. Within 18 months I didn’t have a single Mac. I had gone all Windows. I got the kids Google Android Nexus 7s.
I also used to own Pixar shares. I actually bought Pixar shortly after its IPO on the recommendation of an analyst — who used to call me up for my take on networking companies. She was quite good. She pushed IBM when it was way down … like AAPL was. In those early days PIXAR was ‘cute’. They would send shareholders all sorts of goodies, Pixar posters in the main. Nice touch. I had Pixar stock when Disney bought them.
So, I am no stranger to AAPL or Steve Jobs. Plus having worked for public companies and having been a consultant to many during the dot.com boom (and bust), I do know a bit about company results and the games you can play with them. Essentially you always have a ‘drawer’ from which you could pull stuff or into which you slid stuff that you could pull out at a later stage. Plus AAPL has $150 per SHARE in Cash!
They rigged yesterday’s results! Plain and simple. They wanted a $50 drop in the share price. That was very obvious. Yes, I watched the results come out on CNBC at 4:30. They could have stopped the bleeding at a stroke. All they had to mention was that they were raising the dividend, which they should or that they were going to buy back shares. Nothing. They wanted the stock price down. They want it at $450, if not $400.
Steve Cook does NOT, obviously and of course, have the pride, empathy and relationship that Steve had with his company. Steve Cook was just an employee and will always be an employee. He really doesn’t care about the company like Steve did; but nobody could. Plus, he is, as all knew, not a patch on Jobs. I really don’t think he was ever up to the job, in the same way that Sculley was out of his depth when at AAPL.
My son, the new stock wizard doing very well (e.g. buying Google before the results), called around 8:30 pm to discuss the results. This is what I told him.
Unless you have had the ‘joy’ of owning company issued stock options you don’t understand the importance of NEEDING stock prices to fluctuate widely.
Apple management, from top to bottom, new stock options assigned on a regular basis. When you are due for a new batch, you want the stock price down, way down — because the option price will then be set per this low price. Then you want it to go up. The money you make is on that delta. I am convinced that they are cooking the books because of some stock option deal. Remember even Steve Jobs was accused of manipulating his stock options. So to me this is a simple case of the management abrogating their fiduciary responsibility to the stock holders to pad their own wallets.
I am not going to sell my AAPL share right now. I will sell when the panic is over. Yes, I did sell some a few months ago at $640. I should have listened to my son and sold at $720.
So, this is me giving you a heads up. Be very careful, very careful with AAPL. The management is out to screw the shareholders.
Plus here is what I envision. All things Apple, starting with an ‘i’ will go the same way as the Mac. Yes, yes, I know that Macs are doing ‘well’, but that well is relative. I think Android, Samsung and Google will be having apple for lunch in 2013 and spitting out the core.
The BEST thing that can happen to Apple. Google buying them out!