But would giving more money to shareholders or doing some big buybacks really attract a bunch of new ones to Apple? Last year, from January to September, Apple wasn't doing any of this when the stock was going from $420 to $705. Was Apple more shareholder-friendly then? Or were shareholders simply greedier then? Or are they more obtuse now? What if shareholders were wrong then and are also wrong now? What if they shouldn't be pandered to? I find it hard to see how Cook and the rest of Apple was doing anything at an operational level differently last year that they're not doing now. Communicate More with Shareholders? Even if you don't think Cook should buy off shareholders, maybe you believe that he should communicate more with them and let them know what Apple has up its sleeve. Yet, again, I think he's doing everything he and his predecessor did before him on that score. Cook's been running the Apple earnings calls for years -- and he's doing them as well as he ever has. He's been showing up at more investment bank conferences and giving a state of the union. It hasn't made a whit of difference to the share price, mind you. He's never going to tip his hand on Apple's product road map, nor should he.
Most critics have no idea what Cook does on an operational basis because they've never seen it. So they're really not in a position to criticize it. It appears to me that he's giving his lieutenants more leeway than they've had before. Sometimes, that's led to some problems (like Oppenheimer's handling of the Einhorn discussions and then Apple's volte-face, although perhaps Oppenheimer would blame that on Cook). Cook's also made a key hiring mistake in Retail and had to let Mansfield retire before scurrying to get him back in the fold and ousting Forstall. Cook's not perfect. But is anyone?