Updated from Feb. 28 with results from the shareholder meeting.
Apple (AAPL) is working on products that are "essential to Apple's growth," CEO Tim Cook claimed during the company's annual shareholder meeting at Apple's Cupertino headquarters on Tuesday morning. This defensive claim comes as many investors are frustrated at Apple's lack of innovation since cofounder Steve Jobs died in 2011.
The research and development happening at the famously secretive company have to do with "future stuff [he] can't talk about," Cook told shareholders.
Apple's 26,000 shareholders had a lot to applaud the company for as the tech giant's stock closed at an all-time high earlier this month, and Warren Buffett recently announced that Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) more than doubled its stake in the company in 2017.
Berkshire now owns 133 million shares of Apple worth about $17 billion, vs. the 61.2 million shares for a total of $6.75 billion that it owned as of Dec. 31, according to Buffett's comments in an interview on CNBC on Monday. Berkshire now has about a 2.5% stake in the company. "Apple strikes me as having quite a sticky product and an enormously useful product to people that use it, not that I do," Buffett claimed.
Cook gave Buffett a shoutout at the meeting, saying that he was "very proud" that the firm had invested in Apple. "I think what's good for Apple is to have long term shareholders," he said, noting that Berkshire Hathaway is known to be a long shareholder.
During the meeting, Apple requested shareholder action on nine proposals. Shareholders who could not attend the meeting were allowed to cast proxy votes either online or by mail.
The first four proposals were submitted by management, while the last five were submitted by various individual shareholders that own at least $2,000 worth of Apple's common stock. The Apple Board recommended that shareholders vote in favor of the first four proposals and against the last five proposals. Shareholders respected the board's voting recommendations on all nine accounts, as was expected.
Also of note is that this is the last time Apple's 1 Infinite Loop campus was used for the annual shareholder meeting. In April, the company will start to move employees into its new 'spaceship' campus recently christened Apple Park.
1. Election of directors -- approved
The Apple Board of Directors recommended that shareholders vote in favor of the election of eight nominees to the board. Those eight nominees were James Bell, Tim Cook, Al Gore, Bob Iger, Andrea Jung, Art Levinson, Ron Sugar and Sue Wagner.
2. Ratification of appointment of independent registered public accounting firm -- approved
The Apple Board of Directors requested the appointment of Ernst & Young LLP for its independent registered public accounting firm for 2017. The accounting firm has been with Apple since 2009.
3. Advisory vote to approve executive compensation -- approved
Apple uses a performance-based compensation plan and since 2016 was a tough year for Apple, its top executives will receive a pay cut. CEO Tim Cook will take home $8.75 million for 2016, 15% less than the $10.28 million he received in 2015. The remaining five senior executives will each take home about $22.8 million for 2016, vs. $25 million in 2015, the majority of that in stock awards.