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Apple Dividends and Buybacks Won't Hurt But Won't Help Much

That's not coming until autumn at the earliest. Too bad. Perhaps Tim Cook is learning a little something about being a symphony conductor: Variety is the spice of life. No one likes hanging around waiting for the horns to finally come back after some lull in the action for five minutes.

But it's all riding on the new products for Apple. If the company can come up with new stuff and people buy it in droves, we'll look back and wonder why everyone gave Tim Cook such a hard time. If I hear one more person come on TV and say that they're not excited about a watch or a TV.... It's silly to prognosticate now about the popularity of a product when it hasn't even been unveiled.

The iPad was greeted with a "ho hum" for weeks after its introduction. They only managed to sell a smidge less than 20 million in the last quarter of the product people initially thought had a terrible name.

Counterintuitively, I also believe Apple would generate much more excitement and upward movement in its stock price through some big acquisitions. If we woke up tomorrow and found Apple was using $30 billion of its nearly $150 billion cash pile to buy Twitter, Apple's price would jump up.

Why? Wouldn't some say they are "destroying" shareholder value by paying "so much" for a company that has yet to prove out its business model? I don't agree with this at all.

Currently, Apple's getting zero credit from Wall Street for its $150 billion cash. If the company is able to use 20% of something it's getting zero credit for to suddenly have the biggest force in social media/news today and likely moving forward, that's worth something additional to whatever's been priced in to Apple's stock at this point.

Apple also could do with a burst of fresh thinking/new eyes that would come to the company from the infusion of a group like Twitter. If Apple managed the integration properly and respected the different cultures and made the most of them, it could be a grand slam.

At the time of publication the author was long AAPL and YHOO.

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

Eric Jackson is founder and Managing Member of Ironfire Capital and the general partner and investment manager of Ironfire Capital US Fund LP and Ironfire Capital International Fund, Ltd. In January 2007, Jackson started the world's first Internet-based campaign to increase shareholder value at Yahoo!, leading to a change in CEOs in 2007. He also spoke out in favor of Yahoo!'s accepting Microsoft's buyout offer in 2008. Global Proxy Watch named Jackson as one of its 10 "Stars" who positively influenced international corporate governance and shareowner value in 2007.

Prior to founding Ironfire Capital, Jackson was President and CEO of Jackson Leadership Systems, Inc., a leadership, strategy, and governance consulting firm. He completed his Ph.D. in the Management Department at the Columbia University Graduate School of Business in New York, with a specialization in Strategic Management and Corporate Governance, and holds a B.A. from McGill University.

He was previously Vice President of Strategy and Business Development at VoiceGenie Technologies, a software firm now owned by Alcatel-Lucent. In 2004, Jackson founded the Young Patrons' Circle at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, which is now the second-largest social and philanthropic group of its kind in North America, raising $500,000 annually for the museum. You can follow Jackson on Twitter at or @ericjackson.

You can contact Eric by emailing him at
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