Cramer: Apple Upstaged iPad With Cash Plan
By Jim Cramer 03/19/12 - 01:56 PM EDT
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This column originally appeared on Real Money at 12 p.m. ET Monday
NEW YORK (Real Money -- Candidly, I was disappointed in Apple (AAPL) today. Not because they are paying out a relatively paltry dividend given their cash hoard. After all, if this stock were to come down, then you know the dividend would seem rather bountiful. No one should ever sniff at $2.65 a quarter when not that long ago the stock was in the $200s. There's plenty of room to raise the dividend over time as Intel (INTC)and Microsoft (MSFT) have done. I am also sure that the dividend will get other funds that can own only dividend stocks, to purchase Apple, but that's not a real driver to own the stock. And I am not disappointed because of the $10 billion buyback. I don't care for buybacks in general as we know, and this one does nothing more than shrink what's being issued to executives. I never care for that kind of activity, but I will give Apple this: If any company has execs that should be rewarded, it is this one. No, what bothered me was that this was a very special weekend for Apple, the weekend the iPad hit the stores, and for those of us who waited in line to get one we understood that something so special was going on that the dividend stole the thunder from the actual story, a new device that I think is taking America by storm. I made sure before I went to my Apple store that the line wasn't too long. Of course, Apple was incredibly organized and its crowd control was superb. But the fact was it needed it. Apple had made sure, at least with my store, that it had ample iPads in stock. But I still had to settle for a black 32MB when I wanted a white one. Beggars can't be choosers. I think that the sheer volume of iPads would have made for a more inspirational Apple story. A news conference just about the earth-shattering introduction, something that Apple can do because its inventory controls are superlative, might have actually caused the stock to go up more than it did on the dividend.