NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- David Einhorn scored a small victory in his shareholder battle against tech Goliath Apple (AAPL) this week, winning a court order to keep the company from eliminating its preferred stock, a vehicle the hedge funder says could be the key for returning billions in cash to investors.
Late Friday, a court blocked Apple's shareholder vote as a result of a lawsuit brought forward by Einhorn.
This may allow the famed short-seller turned activist to push a case for increasing the company's dividend as his fund, Greenlight Capital, adds to a more than half-billion-dollar Apple bet.
Einhorn and Apple were at the heart of a big week for a handful of tech titans that also included the earnings of struggling PC-makers Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) and Dell (DELL) and an all-important quarterly report from electric-car maker Tesla (HPQ), as the company's founder Elon Musk tries to charge up excitement about its Model S sports car.Although Einhorn's legal victory against Apple culminated a week of back and forth between the tech giant and its most vocal investor, the company also made headlines for new product speculation. Rumors in February that Apple was developing its own smart watch drew a strong response from TheStreet's readers this week. Of the 1,455 people who voted in a recent poll, 75% said they would buy an iWatch if Apple released such a product. Just 13% of respondents said "No," with another 13% saying they weren't sure. A smart watch could be big business for Apple, which recently has faced concerns about its continuing innovation. Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty believes the watch could be worth as much as $10 billion to $15 billion in annual revenue for Apple, assuming a $200 price point. Meanwhile, speculation continued that Apple may ink a carrier relationship with China Mobile (CHL) after Qualcomm (QCOM) announced a new Long Term Evolution (LTE) chipset on Thursday, the RF360 Front End Solution, which for the first time ever offers a truly global 4G LTE design for mobile devices. Investors, including Einhorn, aren't just thinking about Apple, even as the battle rages as to whether it is a $200 dollar stock or whether Google (GOOG) can rise to $1,000. Data released on Wednesday indicate that, as a result of its iPhone 5, Apple has taken the smartphone lead from Samsung. Tech research firm Strategy Analytics reports that Apple shipped an estimated 27.4 million iPhone 5s during the fourth quarter, taking the smartphone crown from Samsung's Galaxy S3 and accounting for 13% of all smartphones sold globally. Some 17.4 million iPhone 4S were sold, up from 16.2 million in the previous quarter. Samsung shipped 15.4 million Galaxy S3s, down from 18 million in the third quarter, when the device topped the smartphone charts. Together, Apple's iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S accounted for one in five of all smartphones sold globally during the fourth quarter, according to Strategy Analytics. Apple shares ended the week down 5.1% at $450.81.
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