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TheStreet Open House

Apple Rejects 'Sunshine Shareholders'

Stocks in this article: AAPL

Harold Lindon of Stocktwits.com left the meeting saying he would keep his long position, but otherwise was "licking my wounds." In other words, he's not selling -- nor is he buying. His Apple money has gone from being a speculation to an investment. Cook would be pleased.

As James Surowiecki noted at The New Yorker this week, most of Apple's problems lie in the developing world, where people won't buy both a tablet and a smartphone, and where value trumps desire every time. Samsung is killing Apple with its "Phablet," a small tablet that also does voice calls. It's just barely small enough to fit around your hand, next to your ear.

The Phablet is silly. But it's the "all in one" solution Chinese and Indian consumers can afford. It's good enough.

Apple refuses to just be "good enough." That's in its DNA. It demands excellence of itself, and expects its customers to pay for what it considers value.

In the end, Tim Cook is defying not the shareholders, but technology's "s-curve," which holds that you price high early in a product's life cycle, then price to costs once the market approaches maturity.

Apple doesn't do the "value price." It never has, and Cook says it never will. Apple innovates, and it doesn't tell the market what it's doing until it has done it. That won't change -- if you don't like it, don't buy the stock.

Traders are not welcome among Apple's shareholders. Cook might, if he were selling a country rather than a company, call them "summer soldiers" and "sunshine patriots" (per Thomas Paine). When the stock price is under attack, they may shrink from Apple's service, and good riddance.

If you're obsessing over the Apple stock ticker, in other words, you're the kind of "sunshine shareholder" Cook is happy to see flatline.

At the time of publication the author had a position in AAPL.

This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

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