(In Apple's defense, most of this cash is held outside of the U.S., requiring them to pay billions in repatriation taxes).
Cook already put a floor in the stock by initiating an additional $50 billion stock buyback program (on top of the $10 billion plan in place), to be completed by December 2015. Meaning that this $425 billion market cap company is going to get a huge injection of cash in the open market over the next 32 months.
But is it really time to start the "off with his Cook's head" chant? No. I don't think so. Not yet. On the second quarter conference call, Cook hinted towards future product launches in the second half of 2013.
Specifically, he had this to say on the matter, "Our teams are hard at work on some amazing new hardware, software, and services that we can't wait to introduce this fall and throughout 2014. We continue to be very confident in our future product plans."When later probed in the Q&A session about a more specific launch schedule, Cook deflected, "I don't want to be more specific, but I'm just saying we've got some really great stuff coming in the fall and across all of 2014." To me, this is Cook's way of saying that patient, long-term oriented shareholders will be rewarded. I also think he kind of perversely liked the stock falling so much. Watching short-term traders and non-committal bandwagoners getting squashed like bugs.
I think his plan all along has been to ultimately reward those who weather the storm, those who stick it out. With a juicy dividend yield (now near 3%) and a $60 billion buyback program in place -- which is the highest buyback program from a company, ever -- I think we owe it to Cook and to Apple to see what they've got planned for fall.
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