CEO defends Apple innovation record and tax arrangements
Apple CEO Tim Cook has promised the company will continue to innovate and that he understands investors’ concerns regarding the iPhone manufacturer’s falling share price.
Speaking at the AllThingsDigital D11 conference in California, Cook suggested the company could adopt a more open approach going forward and hinted at potential products in the wearable computing and television markets.
“The stock price has been frustrating,” said Cook. “It’s been frustrating for investors and all of us.”
Tim Cook talks
Shareholders have grown increasingly restless as concerns about the company’s future product plans and increased competition in the smartphone and tablet markets from the likes of Samsung resulted in an almost 40 percent decline in Apple’s share price since it reached a record high last September.
The success of the Android platform has placed pressure on Apple to create a cheaper iPhone to broaden its market share, but Cook reiterated the company’s mission statement was not to make the most but to produce the best phones.
He did, however, suggest Apple would take one lead from Android and make its iOS platform a bit more open to developers who wanted to make some deeper-level changes. However, any such move would be limited as the company does not want to risk offering users a bad experience.
Apple’s future product plans remain a mystery, but Cook said Apple continues to take a great interest in the television market and that he saw plenty of potential in the wearable computer space.
The Apple CEO said that the area was “ripe for exploration” but at the moment, there is no product out there that would convince people to wear glasses or a watch. Cook said Google Glass had some positives but warned the form factor might not attract many who don’t wear normal glasses.
The Cupertino-based company has been strongly rumoured to be working on an ‘iWatch’ smartwatch and although Cook did not give anything away, he commented “the wrist is natural.”
By not revealing any concrete details, Cook is unlikely to ease any fears investors may hold about the company’s ability to innovate, but he promised Apple would continue to use some of its estimated $145 billion (£95bn) in cash reserves to acquire companies.
Apple’s apparent hoarding of cash has frustrated some major investors, but Apple apparently bought a new company every two to three months during the previous fiscal year and has purchased nine firms since the current one began in October.
Earlier this month, Apple generated £10.9 billion through a bond sale as part of plans to return some if its cash reserves to shareholders, rather than pay the tax it would incur if it moved some of the money back to the US.
When asked about the firm’s tax arrangements, Cook used the opportunity to state its wish for an overhaul of the US corporate tax system to make it simpler and include a reasonable tax on foreign earnings that allows the free movement of cash back to the US. It believes this will create jobs, stimulate investment and promote economic growth.
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