Apple secrecy has become a hallmark of the company in an effort to stop the copycats. Clearly that's no longer working. Everyone knows about the iWatch, but because the Street doesn't hear it from Tim Cook, the stock doesn't get any credit. Five years ago I wrote a piece about why the shorts love to use Apple. I discussed the stock manipulation that occurs because of Apple secrecy. This variable has been hurting Apple stock for years.
Time to loosen up. It's okay to be out in the public arena talking about a future road map. Elon Musk of Tesla (TSLA) is another prime example. Investors anticipate the Model X and Gen III over the next five years. Give Wall Street an honest forecast of where the company is headed rather than always tempering expectations with irrelevant quarterly earnings guidance.
4. Hold less cash.
Mark Zuckerberg deserves to be named CEO of the decade for his gutsy move to spend $1 billion on the acquisition of Instagram without board approval. Without Instagram, Facebook would be a $15 stock. Google's acquisition of YouTube has turned out to be a gold mine.
It does nobody any good to bury cash in the sand, or in Apple's case, stash it overseas.
Where would Apple be today if it had acquired Netflix (NFLX) to boost its Apple TV's streaming catalogue? Netflix could have been had for $5 billion two years ago. It can still be had for $30 billion today. Where would Apple be if it had acquired Twitter (TWTR) to gain exposure to social networking? Where would Apple be if it had acquired Tesla?
For Apple shareholders it's frustrating to watch these start-ups now become better investment opportunities than Apple itself. I'm even ready to change direction. This earnings season has been eye opening.
Carl Icahn of Icahn Enterprises (IEP) needs to be made chairman of the board for a day. If Apple had already approved and executed the buyback he proposed, quarterly earnings per share would have been $19.50 instead of $14.50. Cash on the balance sheet does Apple no good. It doesn't eliminate volatility. It gets zero credit. It might as well not even exist. Ask Exxon (XOM) how life is at the top of the market share food chain.
Eliminate shares outstanding as quickly as possible.