NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Apple (AAPL) - Get Report were down in Wednesday morning trading after the iPhone maker reported its first annual revenue decline in 15 years and third straight quarterly drop in earnings and revenue after yesterday's market close.
But the Cupertino, CA-based company's 2016 fourth-quarter profit and revenue nonetheless beat analysts' expectations.
The quarter was widely expected to be the worst in Apple's history, but only one analyst congratulated the executives on the better-than-anticipated results on the conference call, TheStreet's Jim Cramer said on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" this morning.
"This was a conference call that you thought [Apple] missed big if you read it," he noted. "There was without a doubt contempt."
The analysts asked Apple CEO Tim Cook questions such as whether the company will ever return to growth, if he has any sort of grand strategy for the next three to five years, and whether R&D investments have become less efficient, Cramer mentioned.
Tech giants such as Oracle (ORCL), IBM (IBM) and Microsoft (MSFT) haven't reported revenue growth for numerous quarters, Cramer pointed out.
"Have you ever listened to the congratulations those gentlemen get?" Cramer asked. "I've had it with these analysts."
Many of these same analysts who were critical of Cook on the call have "buy" ratings on Apple stock, Cramer added. While behind the scenes, they've clearly been telling people to sell the stock.
When "Squawk on the Street" co-anchor David Faber argued that the analysts are right to wonder what new product will drive growth at Apple, Cramer conceded that he isn't an expert on many of Apple's offerings.
"I don't know how to make watches; I don't know how to make iPads," Cramer said. "But I do know how to make a stock go from $93 when Tim Cook was on ["Mad Money"] to $118, and the way you do that is continue to make a product that people love, which they did."
One other possible path to growth could be M&A. On the conference call Cook said he would be open to "acquisitions of any size."
If the analysts continue to press Cook on the idea that he has no plan whatsoever, Cook could respond by using "some of that $200 billion hoard and buy - I don't know - how about anything he wants?" Cramer said.
(Apple is a core holding of Jim Cramer's charitable trust Action Alerts PLUS. See all of his holding with a free trialhere.)
Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates the stock as a "buy" with a ratings score of B+.
Apple's strengths such as its largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, increase in stock price during the past year, expanding profit margins and notable return on equity outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.
You can view the full analysis from the report here: AAPL
TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this article's author.