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Apple: Is Carl Icahn Acting Unethically?

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Pardon me while I reiterate two points I made Friday in Is Tim Cook Certifiably Inane?

Refer to that article to see Carl Icahn's Tweet about plans for dinner with Apple (AAPL) CEO Tim Cook. At this dinner, according to Icahn, the billionaire will learn about the "magnitude" of Apple's stock buyback. Tim Cook's puppet strings have already been pulled -- by Icahn and David Einhorn -- now it's just a question of how far he's willing to go.

This has nothing to do with Apple's eventual success or failure. In my recent articles, I have rhetoricized the possibilities in that regard -- along a crowded spectrum from positive to negative -- six ways to Sunday. Make no mistake -- Apple remains best in breed; whether or not it can stay that way nobody knows.

Point One

If Carl Icahn Tweeted he was short AAPL because he thought Tim Cook was no brighter than Bill Ackman and the stock cratered 40 points, there would be a line of people calling not only for Icahn's head, but demanding something be done about market "manipulation" by "scumbag" shorts.

I guess that's the human condition. All is fair in love and war. When you blow the enemy's head off, it's all good. But if they're coming for you, they crossed the line of morality you scribbled in the sand.

Point Two

And this is the immediately more important one because it doesn't deal with a hypothetical.

When does wielding your power cross the line?

I recognize there's nothing illegal about Carl Icahn tweeting his love for Apple, announcing a position in the stock and watching it fly. After all, he owned AAPL long before he posted the tweet. However, ethical issues, not all involving legality, do rise.

Why did Icahn join Twitter? Nobody except the man himself can answer that question. People join and leave Twitter every day, so, in and of itself, it's really not a big deal. However, a logical man could speculate that he joined to serve his own interests. Is this just being one heck of an opportunist or something worse?

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