updated 11:32 am EST, Tue February 12, 2013
Calls Greenlight lawsuit 'silly sideshow'
Apple CEO Tim Cook addressed a number of topics at today's Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference, including the lawsuit brought against it by Greenlight Capital. Cook called the matter a "silly sideshow," and insisted that the proxy proposal is about "corporate governance," not whether or not Apple should funnel more money to shareholders. He suggested, in fact, that the proposal is better for shareholders, since it means they get a say on preferred stock issuances.
Talking about acquisitions, Cook said that Apple is averaging "one every other month," and that most of them involve companies working on small projects that Apple absorbs into its own. He gave the example of PA Semi, a chip design firm Apple bought to help produce its A-series chips. "We'll do more deals like this," he commented. In terms of larger businesses, though, Cook said that Apple has and "will continue" to consider buyouts, but that they haven't passed Apple's tests so far. "We could do it, but we're disciplined. Not interested in just growing revenue, but if there was a large acquisition that fit our needs, we would do it."
Another question that arose was the prospect of a cheaper iPhone. "We wouldn't do anything we don't consider to be a great product," the CEO remarked. "That's just not who we are. That said, if you look at what we've done for people who are price sensitive, we've lowered the price of the iPhone 4 and 4S as of last September, and last quarter we didn't have enough supply of the iPhone 4. It surprised us.
"Also take a look at the history of iPod. When we started, it was $399. Now you can get an iPod shuffle for $49. Rather than cheapening, we build new products with a separate experience. For years, people said 'Why don't you have a Mac under $500 or $1,000 or whatever?' We worked on that for a long time and came up with the iPad. So we're always trying to reinvent with great new products."