Steve Jobs Couldn't Care Less About You

I've got some sour news for you, Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) shareholders. It doesn't matter how many iPods you buy, iPhone apps you download, or black mock turtlenecks you wear: Steve Jobs couldn't care less about you.

And that's why -- despite great products, a killer brand, and mouthwatering growth potential -- I would advise against owning shares of his company.

Hey, Steve, the Jerk Store called
There's plenty of anecdotal evidence to suggest that Jobs is a jerk. Stories of Apple's CEO throwing temper tantrums, berating his employees, taking credit for others' ideas, and even parking his Mercedes in handicapped spaces are nothing new. But Jobs' personality flaws are not legitimate reasons to avoid Apple shares. In fact, I don't even mind that Jobs is a jerk. After all, there is a long list of corporate leaders who managed to create significant shareholder value despite seriously deficient personalities -- from John Rockefeller to Henry Ford to Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) Steve Ballmer.

Instead, I mind that the Apple CEO has demonstrated a pattern of decidedly shareholder-unfriendly behavior over the years. With his company's stock trading for $200 per share, that's a risk that I'd rather not incur. Here are three prime examples of why I think Jobs' decisions have done his shareholders no favors:

1. All about Steve
In early 2000, along with a fancy private jet intended for his personal use (total cost to shareholders: $88 million), the Apple board gave Jobs an options grant allowing him to purchase 40 million (split-adjusted) shares at $21.80 a piece. According to Bloomberg, "the strike price of that grant was equal to the lowest closing price of Apple stock in the 56- and 30-calendar day periods preceding the grant and in the 30- 56- and 90-day periods following the grant."

In case you're tempted to chalk that convenient strike price up to chance, remember that during Jobs' stint as CEO of Pixar (now a part of Walt Disney (NYSE: DIS  ) ), key executives received options grants priced at the stock's yearly low in 1997, 1998, 2000, and 2003. A Merrill Lynch analyst placed the odds of that happening purely by coincidence at one in 112 million.

I don't begrudge Jobs receiving high compensation. He has created a lot of value for Apple shareholders over the years, and deserves to be compensated accordingly. But I would prefer that compensation to be commensurate with the value that Jobs creates, preferably in the form of restricted stock units awarded if Apple achieves predetermined performance-based criteria. Backdating stock options enriches executives independently of their performance -- since the bar is set so low, and at the expense of shareholders -- since the company ultimately foots the difference.

Of course, alignment with his shareholders' interests has historically not been much of a concern for Jobs. After Apple's stock plummeted during the dot-com crash, Jobs went back to the board and demanded another options grant, giving him the right to purchase 15 million (split-adjusted) shares at the new low price of $9.15 a piece. Apple shareholders did not enjoy such a luxury when the value of their holdings declined.

According to the SEC, Apple went to extraordinary lengths to disguise the details of these options grants (including allegedly creating bogus paperwork and minutes of a nonexistent board meeting). Although Jobs has pleaded ignorance to the accounting implications, former Apple CFO Fred Anderson -- whom the SEC forced to repay $3.5 million  of "ill-gotten gains" because of his involvement in the options scandal -- insists that Jobs was deeply involved in the decision-making process and had been alerted to the accounting ramifications of his actions.

2. Too much of a good thing
Apple has a rock-solid balance sheet, with a $23.5 billion cash hoard at its disposal and no debt. In and of itself, this is a very good thing. However, Jobs has been content to park that cash in short-term investments earning a paltry 1.7% return. That's peanuts.

Smart managers will keep a small amount of excess cash on hand to cushion against the impact of a possible business downturn or fund an opportunistic acquisition. But Apple can easily cover its R&D expenses and off-balance sheet purchase commitments with its free cash flow, and $23.5 billion is enough money to buy a competitor or two, the Washington Redskins, and a medium-sized Central American country.

As partial owners of the company, Apple's shareholders have a proportional claim on that cash hoard. If Jobs does not have a legitimate operational need to maintain such a significant cash balance, he should follow the lead of tech titans like Intel (Nasdaq: INTC  ) or IBM (NYSE: IBM  ) and pay his shareholders a dividend, or mirror Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO  ) and use some of Apple's copious free cash flow to repurchase shares.

3. Unhealthy disclosure policy
Unfortunately, no discussion of Jobs is complete without a reference to his health issues. According to a Fortune article, although Jobs was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in October 2003, he put off surgery for nine months while he explored a number of alternative approaches. During that time span, he did not disclose his condition to Apple or Pixar shareholders -- in fact, he reportedly didn't even tell the Pixar board.

Rumors of Jobs' health issues resurfaced in 2008, but Jobs dismissed these concerns first as "a common bug," and later as "a hormone imbalance." In April 2009, Apple shareholders were surprised to learn that Jobs had received a liver transplant -- a condition far more serious than the company had led them to believe.

But Jobs' body is Apple's business. Apple's annual report sums it up best: "Much of the Company's future success depends on the continued availability and service of key personnel, including its CEO." This is surely a sensitive issue, but if Jobs is a material factor in Apple's future success then shareholders deserve to know his health status. By withholding this vital information, Jobs subjected his shareholders to significant risk.

Close, but no cigar
Over the years, Steve Jobs has repeatedly demonstrated indifference for his shareholders' well-being. While his poor stewardship hasn't hurt shareholders too badly yet, I believe it's only a matter of time.

That's why -- despite a strong brand and obvious growth potential -- we passed on purchasing Apple shares at Motley Fool Million Dollar Portfolio, where we run a diversified real-money portfolio populated with the best recommendations from The Motley Fool universe. In addition to business models, competitive advantages, financial statements, and cash flow projections, we spend a lot of time evaluating a company's leadership, and thanks to Jobs, Apple didn't make the grade.

Instead of Apple, we'd rather own shares of a company like Under Armour (NYSE: UA  ) , which not only boasts a great brand, innovative spirit, and tremendous growth potential, but also a leader -- CEO Kevin Plank -- whose interests are clearly aligned with his shareholders. Not only does Plank own 25% of his company's shares, but last year he voluntarily reduced his salary from $500,000 to $26,000, since Under Armour failed to achieve its revenue and operating margin targets. That willingness to prosper or suffer along with his shareholders makes us proud to call Plank our partner.

Now, Million Dollar Portfolio is opening its doors to new members for the first time in over a year. To see which of the Motley Fool's best companies we're buying with the Fool's own money, simply enter your email address into the box below to find out more.

Rich Greifner is an analyst for Million Dollar Portfolio. He does not own shares of any company mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares of Under Armour. Motley Fool Options has recommended a diagonal call on Microsoft. Apple and Walt Disney are Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendations. Intel, Microsoft, and Walt Disney are Inside Value selections. Under Armour is a Motley Fool Hidden Gems and Rule Breakers pick. The Motley Fool's disclosure policy cares about you very much.


Read/Post Comments (121) | Recommend This Article (169)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On November 11, 2009, at 4:53 PM, plange01 wrote:

    jobs wont be around long enough to worry about.as for apple stock is way overpriced.the company is only doing a little beter than rimm and look at that stock!

  • Report this Comment On November 11, 2009, at 5:04 PM, TMFSpiffyPop wrote:

    Rich, have you put a thumbs-down on AAPL on CAPS? In conjunction with this article, I believe you should.

    I just checked and I see in fact that on 10/16/08 you picked AAPL to Outperform. At $93.63. It is now $203.25 -- and you have crushed the market. Great call!

    It was a 5-year pick.

    Given the article above, are you being intellectually consistent? At the very least, add a pitch on AAPL over there and paste in the URL of this article. More fairly, though, I think you should end that pick and reverse your thumb with a new pick. Either way, Fool on. :) --David

  • Report this Comment On November 11, 2009, at 5:06 PM, MExcelsior wrote:

    "Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area!"??? This should also pertain to the actual article itself. "Jerk" is not exactly respectful.

    #1: Your article posted specific hearsay rumors about Job's personality traits... but these are exactly that! We all have the capabilities to be a "jerk", but these actions are always enhanced when a public figure is involved.

    #2: Apple's cash on hand is a bit more than mentioned in this article... about 10 billion more... makes a big difference.

    #3 The "post-dating" scandal and his "health" is VERY OLD news. Maybe he parked in the handicapped zone because of his "health"???

    #4 Most importantly, no one can question his loyalty to Apple and their products. The inevitable afterbirth of the companies success is the success of shareholders. You cannot separate the two.

    Maybe Jobs parked in your parking spot? Did you short Apple recently? This article was pretty harsh.

  • Report this Comment On November 11, 2009, at 5:11 PM, MaBellIsDead wrote:

    So.... I assume you bought aapl high, panicked, and sold low.

    Geez, what a whiner!

    I sure have no complaints about what he and our company have done for me.

  • Report this Comment On November 11, 2009, at 5:20 PM, TMFTheSnake wrote:

    Yeah, geez Rich! If you steer clear of people like Steve Jobs and Lloyd Blankfein you'd miss out on huge stock returns.

  • Report this Comment On November 11, 2009, at 5:25 PM, jono2k wrote:

    After recently (last week) traveling abroad, I recommend AAPL and NKE. I saw more custom Nike shoes and iPhones than I could believe. This article is a waist of hard drive space. Go ahead, short appl, good luck to ya. There are so many markets Apple hasn't even touched yet.

  • Report this Comment On November 11, 2009, at 5:28 PM, ejclason2 wrote:

    I wouldn't buy Apple today, but the reason is price. But I'm glad I bought Apple in 2001. I noticed that price was mentioned in the article too. I'm wondering if that's not a larger part of the reason that Apple is not in the Million Dollar Portfollio than the article implies.

  • Report this Comment On November 11, 2009, at 5:34 PM, RobertC314 wrote:

    MExcelsior, I don't want to offend you, but I think it is important to note:

    - He called him a "Jerk" but stated that it did not materially affect his ability to run the company.

    - The extra 10 billion in cash on hand over what the article mentions supports the idea that he should be using that to benefit shareholders, not hoarding it in a low-interest account. You are right, it is a big different, and even more evidence that Jobs does not have the shareholders in mind (note: I did not actually look up the numbers, so I cannot comment on how much cash is actually on hand).

    - Pointing out his scandals was not supposed to be NEW reasons why he is scandalous, just supporting evidence.

    - He is a brilliant man, no doubt. That being said, I think the question is whether he will put the company and shareholders first when it does not suit him (the time WILL come). He has shown that he will not, and that is the point of the article: He is key to the success of the company, but it is only a relationship of convenience to him, not of loyalty. Better to invest in companies whose leaders will stick it out through thick and thin than those that will profit along with everyone then jump ship when trouble starts.

    MaBellls - perhaps you missed that Rich bought AAPL at $90. It might be worthwhile to lower the defenses a little and see if there is some merit to the argument. Apple is priced as a growth stock with a huge P/E and lots of optimism already built in. The question is not "is it a great company?", it is "is it a greater company than everyone thinks?". The answer to the first is certainly Yes, but to the second it is not so clear.

  • Report this Comment On November 11, 2009, at 5:37 PM, Turfscape wrote:

    If Steve Jobs continues to innovate and release products that the public buys in large numbers, continues to redefine industries and technologies, and continues to maintain profit margins on those products and technologies...that's all the care I need from him. Mmmmmm...I'm feeling warm and fuzzy all over.

  • Report this Comment On November 11, 2009, at 5:41 PM, bpalmernapa wrote:

    Hello Rich Greifner,

    How could you possibly know that Steve Jobs doesn't care about me. Do you think that Steve Jobs is a cynical, prejudiced, negative Motley Fool? Whatever your viewpoint about who Steve Jobs is and what kind a of person he is, there is someone else who has a different viewpoint. Among all these viewpoints, which one is correct? They are all just viewpoints. Don't believe your mind. Don't believe your thought, your opinions. They are just passing currents, a moment to moment ephemeral wind.

    May you find a little stillness, a little quiet.

    bpalmernapa

  • Report this Comment On November 11, 2009, at 5:42 PM, kramsigenak wrote:

    Please don't buy apple shares if you have a problem with MacBooks, Iphones, Ipods. Such horrible products... yeah right. And like an earlier poster said, has not even scratched the surface of non-domestic markets. Give me a break.

  • Report this Comment On November 11, 2009, at 5:43 PM, RobertC314 wrote:

    The question is not "Is Apple a great company", it really is "Is it a better company than everyone already thinks?" There is already a lot of optimism priced into it right now, and I the fact that people have forgotten that key personnel (Jobs, for example) have shown themselves to be unreliable in the past is something that a lot of people choose to ignore.

    Apple Fanboys (pardon the phrase, but if you identify with it perhaps it's time for some serious introspection on your investing decision making process) who cannot objectively evaluate Apple are missing out on better investments that will provide the same kinds of returns that Apple has in the past. Not many people are saying "short Apple", just that perhaps there are other places that are more deserving of your money.

  • Report this Comment On November 11, 2009, at 5:44 PM, Turfscape wrote:

    RobertC314 said:

    "The extra 10 billion in cash on hand over what the article mentions supports the idea that he should be using that to benefit shareholders, not hoarding it in a low-interest account."

    Warren Buffet sat on a $30 billion hoard for years because he did not see a place of value in which to invest. Steve Jobs most likely sees the same thing. Why throw the money into R&D that does not have a good chance of producing returns? Why place it into investment vehicles in such an unsure market where the typical investment has lost double digits? (I'd be pretty happy if I had a cash account earning a guaranteed 1.7%...as it stands, my cash account currently yields just 1%)

  • Report this Comment On November 11, 2009, at 5:44 PM, TMFBent wrote:

    @Dave Gardner

    Sorry Dave, but I'm gonna have to come at you for coming after Rich for a Caps call being different from his opinion here.

    It's perfectly possible to put a thumb direction on a stock in caps and not buy it and have an intellectually consistent philosophy.

    I routinely put green thumbs on all sorts of garbage in caps that I would never own in real life. Sometimes, it's precisely because I suspect there are plenty of intelectually-challenged punters out there who will run up the lousy company in question. But would I put real money on that bet and hope to be able to get out of the door when the spit hits the fan? No way.

    I also used to put red thumbs in caps on companies I liked, but which I thought had gotten ahead of themselves in price for the short term. In real life, I'd never have shorted them, and in fact I held shares.

    But the fact remains that I had two different opinions on the same stock based on timeframes, as well as on the fact that I was operating according to two very different sets of rewards within two entirely separate systems -- one a fiction trading platform with no way to weight positions, no way to hedge, and which over-emphasizes "accuracy" in its scoring and ranking system, the other, my personal money, which I have worked my butt off for, and which can't be bet on whims.

    Mistakes in CAPS are consequence free. Capital costs nothing, and it is unlimited. Not so real life.

    Caps is a fine system, but it's not real money, and it's certainly not investing. Expecting someone to duck the inherent incentive systems in two different realities in order to express the same opinions in real money as with a ficticious trading platform -- that, to me, seems not only unfair, but intellectually inconsistent.

    Go Rich!

    And Go Dave too. But not with that argument. ;)

    Sj -- 99.82 in caps, running a fantasy strategy completely unconnected with investing. Scorecard shows gains with green thumbs on Apple 3 different times, and I sold puts on Apple once in the past couple years, but no way would I buy shares at $200.

  • Report this Comment On November 11, 2009, at 5:46 PM, mmargolies wrote:

    Steve Jobs is more important to tech magazines and Mac administrators and users than to iPhone and iPod sales or to most future non computer Apple products. Most people could not care less what Jobs does or who he is. To most non-geeks he's just another CEO. If he went away it would have little effect on consumer products, the fact that he has been out of play the last two plus years even on the computer side and the company continues fine without him in the spot light is further evidence that his importance from a few years ago has softened as Apple has expanded beyond graphic artists and scientific researchers using Mac computers.

  • Report this Comment On November 11, 2009, at 5:52 PM, kramsigenak wrote:

    Actually, he should do Apple a favor and begin to put his successor in place for a smooth transition before the inevitable happens. It would be the right thing to do for Apple and share holders. He can stay on board, with the understanding that other creatives are on board and helping along with innovation and strategy for the future.

  • Report this Comment On November 11, 2009, at 5:57 PM, marv08 wrote:

    Well, I bought AAPL at 8.70 and he cared a lot for me (if the numbers are any indication). The crisis is not over and keeping the cash safe is the best thing a company can do. Why buy companies you can buy them for half the price in a few months? Why pay dividends, if you do not know if you still need the money (and then pay interest for it)? They have mindshare, products and money, and the entire world is trying to copy them. What more can a CEO achieve after taking over a nearly dead company (jerk or not)?

  • Report this Comment On November 11, 2009, at 6:04 PM, drsl wrote:

    A fun read.

    Thanks to all.

    Will continue to sit on my small long position.

  • Report this Comment On November 11, 2009, at 6:07 PM, TheGolfGuy wrote:

    sounds like you you are short AAPL, just got squeezed and are trying to recoup some dollars.

    Every time (3) I've bet against AAPL on a pullback it's backfired. This is argubly a top 5 best run, best managed company in the world.

    The products are unsurpassed. The guys knows how to pick winners and only releases them when they're ready. Look at others companies strategy.. they rush products out so fast because they are trying to keep up with apple.

    I tend to believe Steve continues to create siginificant value for shareholders. Year after year after year. I'd put my money with him before I ever would take the advice of a market analyst.

  • Report this Comment On November 11, 2009, at 6:08 PM, RTFM2009 wrote:

    " I would advise against owning shares of his company." Ok?

    AAPL was a SA recommendation as well as in the Best buy list and I bought it at 89 early this year and now it is at 203 and it will go to 300 by next year. So why would I not own this share as long as it's making me money.

    I DON’T care if SJ is a Jerk or not, AREN’T we all Jerks to someone, some way or the other.

  • Report this Comment On November 11, 2009, at 6:11 PM, bjpinto wrote:

    I frankly do not understand the real motive behind this article. Why would you write such a negative article about a CEO whose excellent contributions speak for themselves in terms of the company's products, the ultimate customer satisfaction and not to mention the shareholder satisfaction (just look at the share price)?

    I would rather encourage to investigate and write about CEOs of firms that take undue advantage of the market circumstances by using tax payer money to sure-up their firms but then easily "forget" about that fact and go back to their usual excessive ways, or CEOs who simply buy market share with acquisitions due to their huge cash reserves rather than doing any innovations or adding customer value.

    It’s very easy to target someone with a couple of pointers (like in the beginning of this article). However as a matter of fact please try finding a visionary, passionate and true leader like CEO Steve Jobs, who has made such an excellent contributions and innovations in several industries with superb customer satisfaction, which ultimately add and contribute to shareholder value.

    In other words, why would anyone buy into a company if one would not believe or like that companies products!!!

    Bottom line: I didn't like this article a bit, and more so attributing it to MDP! Better luck next time!

  • Report this Comment On November 11, 2009, at 6:20 PM, artisticfish wrote:

    Hmmm, I've always kind of had a soft spot in my heart for Mr. Jobs. I also don't like to call someone a 'jerk' or any other negative assessment until I've had the chance to meet them for myself. Pressure alongside chronic illness can make one difficult and edgy; take it from one who knows. That aside, he and the rest of his crew are steering an enormously large ship these days and amidst a very shaky economy have managed to build substantive value into the company. I believe the innovation will continue into the next five years and you'll see Apple shares approaching the 400 mark within the next 18 months. Maybe one day, I'll get Mr. Jobs and family for dinner and I'll be able to respond to the 'jerk' remark with more clarity. However, until then, my focus remains on the astute and forward thinking focus of this brilliant company, it's products from which all of my family members have benefited from enormously and the professionally delivered earnings reports. I'll be long on Apple for a long time to come.

  • Report this Comment On November 11, 2009, at 6:25 PM, mobilebob wrote:

    Rich Greifier is misleading you, he is the one that does not care about you. Looks like the world is jealous that people can pick on Apple any longer. Apple is winning in down times, but JOBS does care and listen. It's Fools like this author that just does not get it. Rich who paid you to write is article, Palm, RIM?

  • Report this Comment On November 11, 2009, at 6:28 PM, KurtNYC wrote:

    I find this kind of article forgets why people like me use this service, for consistent educated guidance. If AAPL was a Stock Advisor recommendation at $89, (when I bought it) and it is NOT a sell now under SA, but an analyst for Million Dollar Portfolio is saying 'don't own this', then you can see how the unwashed masses get confused.

    I don't care if people like Steve or not, I care that the service I pay for has enough consistency that I can utilize it. If the stock is currently overvalued please explain why, and feel free to include your anti-Steve message in something with a conclusion. Is SA or MDF right? Get to the point. MF needs to stop thinking generating headlines is the same as guidance.

  • Report this Comment On November 11, 2009, at 6:29 PM, nurredin wrote:

    Hey Rich, what company did you create that's made me over a million dollars since 1995? Where's your $24 BILLION dollar cash reserve? Before you malign someone, you should make sure your accomplishments are on par with those you malign. My favorite coach,Wayne Woodrow Hayes once said,"Those who can do, those who can't write about it". I thinks this fits you very aptly. Let us know when your company is as successful as Apple.

  • Report this Comment On November 11, 2009, at 6:37 PM, RTFM2009 wrote:

    Sorry but I was thinking about joining MDP since yesterday, but after reading this article, I am disappointed now I am thinking twice and will decide tomorrow.

  • Report this Comment On November 11, 2009, at 6:40 PM, TMFBent wrote:

    "Where's your $24 BILLION dollar cash reserve?"

    That cash position is a strike against Jobs. There's no good reason not to be returning that money to shareholders, except that it will likely go toward share buybacks to soak up Apple's excessive options grants.

  • Report this Comment On November 11, 2009, at 6:44 PM, TMFBent wrote:

    "Why would you write such a negative article about a CEO whose excellent contributions speak for themselves in terms of the company's products, the ultimate customer satisfaction and not to mention the shareholder satisfaction (just look at the share price)?"

    Maybe because, despite those things, the guy (and his captive board) have not only cheated shareholders but lied to them repeatedly, (about his health problems, about those cooked options grants) and has yet to return any of Apple's cash to those shareholders?

  • Report this Comment On November 11, 2009, at 6:44 PM, poracer wrote:

    Every once in a while I read one of these sales come-ons. They always disappoint...as they end in a sales pitch.

    There is no reason to blindly hold any stock in this market. You don't need a reason to not blindly 'buy and hold."

    In the meanwhile, make a tidy sum for your account and then sell when the stock or the market turns.

    But, unless the market turns, don't sell b4 the tablet comes out.

  • Report this Comment On November 11, 2009, at 6:45 PM, AppleOfMyEye wrote:

    The only value in this article is that it's an example of how freedom of expression illuminates the ignorant among us.

    I only wish that Rich had the influence to drive Apple's share price down so I could accumulate more than the 4650 shares I already own (not counting the shares controlled by the 100 put contracts I hold). Apple is a shining example of success. That comes through strong leadership. I just hate whiners and losers who can't take it when someone else does well. In this case, I'm positive that Steve Jobs doesn't care about Rich.

    While Rich is waiting for Steve Jobs to make a mistake, my investments will continue to grow into long term gains that most guys don't generate their entire career.

    Write something useful next time please.

  • Report this Comment On November 11, 2009, at 6:48 PM, 50something wrote:

    Look beyond Jobs to his British designer.

    Look at the products.

    The share price has some way to go yet.

  • Report this Comment On November 11, 2009, at 6:49 PM, lrecap wrote:

    I had a little(?) problem with the original article. When resorting to that kind of language and content, I wonder how "logical/objective" the evaluation is verses being subjective. Also feel that as times move on, TMF is becoming a more "ME TOO" organization as to quality of personnel (there are dozens out there, all have "the answer")- - - having a more difficult time having confidence in their assessments. I am one (of probably many, but never heard from them) that pushed for something more like the MDP which would be more diversified than the individual newsletters (of which I had subscribed to 8 or more at one time). I know, the usual response is that TMF is for education and entertainment (the most often reply that I received), but I suspect that a lot of people are looking for solid/objective direction. This article has more of a taste of the present administration (opposition bashing) than objectiveness. The bottom line is that there are dividends and there is capital gains - - and Jobs return to Apple has done wonders for the Capital gains side. So an objective assessment as to what/when apple will reach its assessed value is welcome, people bashing is not. I am one that does not feel MS's golden leader always had his investors in mind (but his net worth did not suffer). Nor have I looked seriously at Job's benefits, he is not alone in this capitalistic world (to which I do subscribe as apposed to some alternatives) as to what he makes - - I assumed that he was offered considerable to come back (and as I understand, his salary is 1 dollar per year). Bottom line - - hopefully TMF will continue to focus on "quality" of their released/published information (although I must say that a lot of the solicitations I have received in the last year or two from TMF are hard to distinguish from the competition). Just my (a little random) thoughts.

    lre

  • Report this Comment On November 11, 2009, at 6:50 PM, xetn wrote:

    I don't understand why Obama's pay czar doesn't cap Job's pay at $30000.00 per year. He obviously doesn't "earn" any more that that. Right?

  • Report this Comment On November 11, 2009, at 6:55 PM, wessew wrote:

    With all due respect this is the kind of shoddy analysis which discredits the Motley Fool and calls into question the decision making that makes up the MDP: 1) Steve Jobs has done a terrific job managing Apple and adding to shareholder wealth; 2) the facts quoted are not accurate: the company has $10 billion more in cash than indicated; 3) the primary issue one may have with Apple today is valuation; 4) the health issue--significant risk of what? No CEO lasts foreover. Apple has a fairly deep bench. Job's health is a private matter until he can no longer perform his duties. The public was informed when that become temporarily operative. The company continued to prosper in his absence. He has since returned.

  • Report this Comment On November 11, 2009, at 6:55 PM, TMFTomGardner wrote:

    I actually disagree with aspects of this article and with some of my fellow Fool TMF Bent's comments. But that's the beauty of The Motley Fool. Debate makes the market; being apart of it teaches.

    I think some of the items in this article have already been covered publicly. And I think Apple has dealt with them. I'm not saying they were done correctly originally; I don't think they were. But I'm not inclined to pound Apple too hard anymore for these past mistakes.

    I also think that to cover Apple from a one-constituent perspective -- in this case, shareholders -- isn't entirely fair. What Apple has achieved for customers over the past decade is one of the most remarkable achievements in American history. Apple was verging on bankruptcy. The business was turned around. And the turn around has brought some of the most remarkable products into the marketplace, at such a furious pace...I think it is unprecedented.

    It just so happens that serving customers up remarkable products designed with the greatest elegance has also led to stunning returns for shareholders as well as a pretty amazing experience for many many employees at Apple. I'd encourage you to talk to Steve's direct reports and dig around what they think it's like working at Apple. Steve certainly seems divisive. But I wouldn't call him a jerk. I would call him divisive. Some hate him; some run through walls every day for him. The net result is an organization on fire over the past decade.

    Finally, Senor Bent, the idea that a company should not sit $24B on its balance sheet is more debatable than you're making it. I can certainly see an argument for returning some capital to shareholders. But this is a very competitive business. When Google comes in aggressively, I think Apple shareholders will be thankful for the pot of gold they can invest. Not everything is about short-term returns to shareholders. Keeping that capital in the bank may be the best way to serve the 25-to-50-year shareholders of this company. There's no reason Apple shouldn't be allowed to think in quarter centuries as Jim Sinegal and Costco do. And in this business, with the threats on every side, lots of cash is a ticket to keep playing for more than one tech cycle.

    Interesting article. I do think there are some things Apple can do better for shareholders. And I do think Steve's health issues should have been disclosed. If Apple wants to achieve true greatness -- sustained greatness -- it must treat its long-term shareholders as partners. I think it can do better, but I don't think things are as bad as the article suggests.

    Oh, and..yes..I think Apple stock is not looking cheap today. Fool on,

    Tom Gardner

  • Report this Comment On November 11, 2009, at 6:57 PM, IraLA wrote:

    Drivel. I am tempted not to come back to read even this free content. Lots of unattributed disrespectful garbage, rumor, innuendo, and manipulative crappola; oops, did I say that?

    Gimme a break :(

    http://wereport.com

  • Report this Comment On November 11, 2009, at 7:00 PM, Ankrum wrote:

    Everybody knows Jobs is a jerk. What's news about that?

  • Report this Comment On November 11, 2009, at 7:17 PM, TexasTex wrote:

    Geez, Rich. Tell us really how you feel. This sounds an awful lot like a bad case of envy to me.

    I paid my bucks to Motley Fool to get advice based on how you feel about the founder's salary? or where he parks? or because someone told you he is a jerk? There's some serious research there! Nice work.......

  • Report this Comment On November 11, 2009, at 7:26 PM, GayIthacan wrote:

    Ah Yes, Rich, I;m sure Steve Jobs obsesses over what some prissy little stock clerk thinks of him and his company.

    Your article has all the trappings of a whiny underling who missed the boat several times and now can do nothing but scream from the shore.

    Steve Jobs and apple have done more for their fellow men (and investors) than you and all your fellow screen-gazers combined.

  • Report this Comment On November 11, 2009, at 7:31 PM, XMFRael wrote:

    Ha. Great article. Don't own apple but own a macbook. great computer, but just a computer, for pete's sake. point being, it's at times like these -- when a stock/company gets vaulted to cult status (and valuation) -- that you need to think about red flags like these. ... the harder they fall and so on. call me a jerk for saying so. But just know, it'll be the nicest thing anyone's called me in weeks. Thanks for the memories rich!

  • Report this Comment On November 11, 2009, at 7:33 PM, hwdotson wrote:

    I can't agree with this article at all and frankly, I think it is in bad taste. To call a genius a jerk is a little far out. Apple is a great company and most of it's success is due to to the innovation and vision of Jobs. This is one stock that is not over priced and that has a great future. I have made more money from owning Apple than any other stock I have owned and it wasn't because TMF recommended it.

  • Report this Comment On November 11, 2009, at 7:52 PM, oghowie wrote:

    It's because of Apple's cult status that it will continue to do well. It's amazing how many "older" folks just don't get it.

  • Report this Comment On November 11, 2009, at 8:02 PM, scott0807 wrote:

    rich, congratulations, you managed to rattle some cages with this one. The G brothers, seth jayson, and many loyal readers. all we need is for mr buffett to weigh-in. fool-on. scott (long apple)

  • Report this Comment On November 11, 2009, at 8:04 PM, DarylDad wrote:

    Your story is mean spirited and it sound as if you have a personal issue with the stock. Also, if Mr. Jobs had his company covered, he didn't owe anyone an explanation or detail of his health. No one can promise you they'll be to work tomorrow since anyone can die suddenly. He needed to park in handicapped spaces at times when his health was poor. Don't you have to run these articles through an approval process before you represent Motley Fool with such drivel. This story doesn't have the objective tone of investing and it seems the problem is with you, NOT STEVE JOBS. This is the first time I've read anything from MF that made me sick.

  • Report this Comment On November 11, 2009, at 8:34 PM, TMFBane wrote:

    Great article, Rich! I think this is an important debate, and I'm glad you've introduced it. And from what I've heard and read, I think it's fair to characterize Steve Jobs as a jerk. He's also a genius, and wildly successful too. It wouldn't surprise me at all if AAPL continued it's amazing run. Yet, I'd rather not invest in shareholder-unfriendly companies either. On balance, I'd say that's a wise strategy too, especially when you look at the record of some of those sorts of companies over the past few years.

  • Report this Comment On November 11, 2009, at 8:35 PM, longcalls wrote:

    What a hateful article. Motley Fool editors- how can you publish such drivel?

    Absolutely zero value added.

  • Report this Comment On November 11, 2009, at 8:47 PM, rundevilrun wrote:

    I think that Apple's attitude to shareholders is fine. Far too many companies waste too much energy focusing on "creating shareholder value." Focus on great products and service and the shareholders will share the rewards.

  • Report this Comment On November 11, 2009, at 8:55 PM, park94 wrote:

    Why single out Steve Jobs? that's the view of any Ceo and Money manager I've ever encountered.When it comes to bankruptcy the firm always wipes out shareholders.

    Nobody cares about shareholders, and even amongst institutional managers they view retail "investors" as idiots that are willing to pay high prices for overvalued stocks as long as you give them a stupid reason. So don't point fingers at Steve Jobs only.

  • Report this Comment On November 11, 2009, at 9:06 PM, mode66 wrote:

    This article is totally out of line and I can't believe Motley Fool editors let it go by. My respect for you fools has decreased considerably.

    What, all these gains on the stock when Intel and others have done nothing for 10 years. And the innovation as an American company that fuels the American engine.

    Shame on YOU Rich, Dick, Greifner. Personal Agendas on a has been investment website!

  • Report this Comment On November 11, 2009, at 9:14 PM, pstonebridge wrote:

    If Steve Jobs had not returned to Apple then they would have gone under. In my opinion he is a genius and rewarding him with stock options would not have raised any eyebrows if the stock had stayed mired in the $20 range. Because of him it didn't and now you want to call him a jerk? That "jerk" turned around a technically astute, marketing dumb company into a powerhouse of "cool", must-have, expensive, media toys. That "jerk" also could have retired on finding out he had cancer but instead pushed the iPhone into existence and made Nokia and the others play catch up. More power to Mr. Jobs and here's hoping he makes a full recovery.

  • Report this Comment On November 11, 2009, at 9:14 PM, TMFMileHigh wrote:

    Wading into these waters with some stream-of-consciousness comments, all derived from my coverage of Apple:

    1. Is Jobs a jerk?

    I don't know and I don't care. Far as I'm concerned, Jobs is as close to immaterial as he's ever been. Having him gone for six months debunked the myth that he was the sole value creator at Apple. Tim Cook was a superb stand-in and shows signs of being an excellent leader.

    2. Is Apple's cash balance a reason not to buy, or, conversely, a reason to sell?

    I agree with Rich and Seth that Apple is hoarding cash to the detriment of its shareholders. A one-time return of capital is overdue.

    Yet I also think the absence of a return of capital or a dividend isn't a big enough issue to keep investors from buying the stock, or selling for those who own shares. Apple has too much money? Oooooooo, spooky. (Grins.)

    We should be honest as shareholders and admit we expect this from Apple; the Mac maker almost never spends for acquisitions and has moved aggressively to a more capital-light business model. A fat bank account was all but inevitable.

    3. Is Apple overvalued at north of $200 per share?

    Possibly, but I don't think the argument is as clear cut as the bears here assert. Here's my math: http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2009/08/26/why-apple-i...

    China notwithstanding -- I suspect China Unicom's handset will be a bust -- I'm betting that Apple will cut its exclusive ties with AT&T, increase volume globally, and earn a near-100% margin royalty stream on its App Store, which acts like an annuity but grows incrementally with each new killer app.

    This growth story could keep going for a long while.

    Round of applause for Rich for starting this discussion.

    FWIW and Foolish best,

    Tim (TMFMileHigh and @milehighfool on Twitter)

  • Report this Comment On November 11, 2009, at 9:26 PM, JPDemers wrote:

    I'm happy to have invested in a company that turned $6 into $200 per share. If that's "shareholder unfriendly", well, I guess I'll just have to live with it. And having $24 billion in cash, rather than in the markets, over the past year or so strikes me as pretty damned smart. (Greifner thinks could have done better with it?)

    Rundevilrun put it quite well: so long as Jobs and company continue to deliver amazingly good products and service, Apple will prosper, and I don't give a hoot how "friendly" they are.

  • Report this Comment On November 11, 2009, at 9:26 PM, LatifK wrote:

    Not sure what the author is recommending, to short apple?

    I wouldn't do that even with your money and on your account.

    So far, even if we take all your points of hearsay, rumors and a miserly attitude to be evident truths, you still haven't listed any good reason not to go long on AAPL and have the utmost confidence that AAPL will continue to innovate and even continue to create new markets.

    Do I wish AAPL would start paying dividends? Yeah sure I do, but dividends are not the only criteria to look at when looking where to put your money to work for you.

    Fool on....

  • Report this Comment On November 11, 2009, at 9:28 PM, ITnut wrote:

    A brilliant piece of marketing. A catchy title, the cover of an in-depth analysis, and an offensive tone guarantied to drive the masses to respond to the article. And all for what? The promotion of another foolish service, the Million Dollar Portfolio.

  • Report this Comment On November 11, 2009, at 9:32 PM, DBrown7 wrote:

    An article posted to attract eyeballs and stir the pot? If so, mission accomplished. It's just not a very worthy mission in my opinion.

  • Report this Comment On November 11, 2009, at 10:03 PM, grbarrows wrote:

    Mr. Greifner you are at best inconsistent and at worst not very good at what you do. Your analysis is full of errors and faulty logic. I have made more money off Apple both up and down for the last two decades than any other stock I've owned. As for Steve Jobs, he was there with his own money covering everyone's salary when Apple had been driven into the ditch by soda pop salesmen. Any success he manages to have is well deserved. As for his health, that's none of your business or anyone else's. Did you write an article looking for Jack Welch's health history in 1995 when he had triple bypass surgery? I suspect not. Or were you still in middle school then. Not only would I not sign up for your 'Million Dollar Portfolio' group, I'm considering getting my money back for my subscription to 'Stock Advisor'. This is not the Motley Fool I've known for many years. You guys have really sunk to new lows. You are beginning to look more like hucksters rather than the market analysts you used to be.

  • Report this Comment On November 11, 2009, at 10:28 PM, TMFTenacious wrote:

    Hi folks,

    First of all, thanks for your comments. I have enjoyed this discussion immensely, and hope we can keep it going.

    Unfortunately, I feel many of you have missed the point of my article. It's not about whether Jobs is a brilliant and creative guy (he is), whether Apple stock has performed well under his leadership (it has), or whether the company's growth prospects look good (they do). The issue is whether Jobs is a good steward of shareholders' capital (I think I have made a pretty convincing case that he is not).

    At $90 per share, I'd be willing to overlook Jobs' shareholder-unfriendly decisions. With the growth expectations baked into current prices, I wouldn't be as willing to take on that risk. As I mentioned in the article, I think that management's treatment of shareholders is an important component of stock evaluation, and I don't believe that Jobs is up to par in this category.

    For those who believe that all CEOs are cut from the same Jobs-style cloth, I'd encourage you to check out Costco's Jim Sinegal or Morningstar's Joe Mansueto. Those are the kind of guys that we are proud to call partners at Million Dollar Portfolio.

    Agree or disagree? Sound off.

    Thanks for reading,

    Rich

  • Report this Comment On November 11, 2009, at 10:42 PM, slmtnrmpg wrote:

    Wow, reads just like a stock scam. Good for 'motley just like wallstreet only costs you'. Nothing about the company, just a diatribe about its CEO. Heck if you hate apple that much why not buy Sun? Its CEO is well groomed, very much into social causes, and committed to losing money. But instead as an afterthought you want us to buy a company that produces toxic chemicals for cleaning vinyl - thats a much better idea.

    Unfortunately for the author some of us bought apple during the glory days when the companies margins were being driven underground by less flamboyant, low key CEOS so we know better.

    Too funny.

  • Report this Comment On November 11, 2009, at 10:53 PM, TMFMmbop wrote:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/23/business/23liver.html?_r=1...

    The people who run through walls for Steve Jobs should reassess who they're working for.

  • Report this Comment On November 11, 2009, at 11:04 PM, JJMSpartan wrote:

    I'll make this very simple - I have a 15-bagger in AAPL in the last 5 years. greater than 70% CAGR.

    I'll take that kind of not caring about me any day.

    Steve, keep the focus on the big picture. Please. I'll take the returns that are driven that way gladly.

  • Report this Comment On November 11, 2009, at 11:18 PM, stan8331 wrote:

    There certainly are some less than desirable aspects to Steve Jobs' performance at Apple. The back-dated stock options are flat-out wrong. If we had a functional SEC, that sort of behavior would be severely punished where it hurts most - in the pocketbook.

    However, to focus on Apple's negatives is to fail to see the forest for the trees. With all due respect, Costco is NOT Apple. Apple is a unique company that produces elegant, sexy products people will go far out of their way to buy at premium prices. In the world of consumer IT- and probably consumer products as a whole - it really has no peer. Personally I prefer the freedom of PC's built with commodity components, but I do understand the appeal Apple holds for a great many people.

    It wasn't all that long ago that Apple was an insignificant, vestigial company on the verge of bankruptcy - barely even a gnat in comparison to King Kong Microsoft. Steve Jobs is the person most responsible for creating all those billions upon billions of shareholder wealth that now exist. While all is not ideal with the company, any search for perfection will be long and ultimately unrewarding.

    At $203 a share it is a little pricey, but I have a feeling anyone who buys tomorrow morning and holds for 10 years will be looking at a VERY nice profit.

  • Report this Comment On November 11, 2009, at 11:23 PM, TMFMmbop wrote:

    @Apple is a unique company that produces elegant, sexy products people will go far out of their way to buy at premium prices.

    That's not proving to be the case in China where the $1,300 -- yes, $1,300 -- iPhone with no service contract is flopping hard. It is, after all, nothing more than a soon to be obsolete device. And what do you want to pay for a this violently cyclical stock?

  • Report this Comment On November 11, 2009, at 11:31 PM, TMFBreakerMage wrote:

    What caught my eye was "Steve Jobs Couldn't Care Less About You"

    I had to read it and I am glad I did as a happy IPhone owner.

    As TMFMileHigh points out, kudos to Rich for getting this started!!

    I agree with Rich, he doesn't care about the shareholders. However, he DOES care about creating revolutionary products, which in the end does benefit the shareholders. Maybe he's not as shareholder friendly as Phillip Morris, but it's still a solid stock to buy(except at this price).

    Soon to be obsolete device? What the? Just saw that from TMFMmbop from above. No it can't be!! I love my IPhone!! haha

  • Report this Comment On November 11, 2009, at 11:31 PM, millsbob wrote:

    Jobs is a difficult man. and a Genius. the two sometimes go together.

    the article really Was just a poor excuse for a slam, and my opinion of MF Pro just went into the toilet, especially when i compare that choice with what you Did buy.

    to your alleged point, however, as requested:

    many people value AAPL partly because of that big warchest. more importantly, MF having been Hilariously late to the party on aapl, has no idea what it might be used for (but then as a techie, i find you generally clueless on tech concepts). Apple, and Steve, probably have a number of such ideas, and they don't stop at iPods/iPhones/iSlates.

    to paraphrase a movie from my youth:

    "i have one word for you: robots."

  • Report this Comment On November 12, 2009, at 12:51 AM, Maraith wrote:

    After the past 18 months, I think business and the stock market need to be re-thought and maybe even reinvented. It was slavish devotion to short-term stock price and stockholders (among other factors) that got Wall Street into this huge mess. There's no room for going back to the old way of doing things.

    Apple thinks long term and keeps cash on hand to give it the flexibility to move fast when it has to in terms of acquisitions, supply chain management, and other necessary business objectives. This is not a bad thing in my opinion. Finally, some company is thinking beyond this quarter and this management's personal pockets.

    I want to invest in companies that will be around for a long time, do not need help from the government to survive downturns, and will return profits to me when I need them.

    Take your brain out of 2007 and start appreciating the value of buy-and-hold. Or is that an outdated mantra at Motley Fool these days? Just not glamorous enough, huh?

  • Report this Comment On November 12, 2009, at 1:40 AM, ellenhb wrote:

    I enjoyed this article, and all the responses. Could it be that the cash reserves would be an important transitional strength if Steve Jobs were no longer at the helm? Viewing Apple as a long term investment, that factor looks like a positive to me. It also diffuses the downside of Jobs' secrecy regarding his health.

  • Report this Comment On November 12, 2009, at 2:06 AM, FreethinkerKW wrote:

    Shouldn't the headline read, "Steve Jobs Could (not couldn't) Care Less About You?"

  • Report this Comment On November 12, 2009, at 3:15 AM, AxIt wrote:

    Jobs do not care about shareholders and Wall Street. That's true. But I believe that paradoxically this is an advantage: Apple is one of the few corporations that is focused on business and non on pleasing wall street. Apple, thanks to Jobs, does what a company should do: win in the market through innovation and great products. Wall street follows (as the trend in the share price testifies).

    Unfortunately today is mainly the opposite: corporations are focused on pleasing wall street, market approach and products follow. The result is that innovation is much slower as it could be, focus is much more on financials that on real business, and corporations tend to move all in the same direction.

    Which corporation bet on generating revenues through a music download service?

    Disclosure: long on Apple

    Which corporation turned a PC in a fashion object?

    Which corporations released the next "revolutionary" mobile device?

    The answer is Apple. Should Jobs have cared about Wall Street opinions, iTunes, iPod, fancy macs, iPhones etc. would not exist today. All of these would have been considered crazy businesses.

    Even if I acknowledge that some personal traits of Jobs are questionable, I firmly believe that there should be more CEOs with his approach.

    Disclosure: long on Apple

  • Report this Comment On November 12, 2009, at 3:15 AM, TMFKopp wrote:

    Not that we need yet another comment about Apple's cash balance, but I'll go ahead and chime in to support Rich on this one.

    Frankly, holding that much cash on the balance sheet at a company like Apple is simply lazy. Sure, Buffett held onto a lot of cash for a long time, but Apple isn't Berkshire and Jobs (while talented) is no Buffett.

    Nor is Apple Cisco, which not only has returned a boatload of cash to shareholders through buybacks, but also has a legitimate track record of making acquisitions and prospering from them. We could say the same for Oracle, except that Oracle also at least pays a token dividend.

    I highly doubt that Apple's management is sitting around waiting for some massive acquisition, I'd bet that it just helps them sleep better at night. Not a bad goal in itself, but when the cash hoard is that excessive it's nothing but detrimental to shareholders.

    Further, the comments about the performance of Apple's stock are missing the point. Rich isn't saying that the company doesn't make good products, nor is he saying that the stock couldn't be a good buy if it was priced a lot lower.

    Rather, he's saying that at $200+/share and a trailing P/E multiple of over 30, the stars better be perfectly aligned for the company to make it a decent investment. Maybe what Rich says about Jobs isn't enough to short the stock. Maybe it's not even enough to sell the stock if you've owned it since $90. But it's definitely enough to make you think twice (three times?) about buying the stock at today's prices.

    Look folks, don't misread the message here. I don't see Rich calling for the demise of Apple, I just hear him saying that caution should be the watchword with Jobs at the helm (along with his shareholder-unfriendly behavior) and the stock priced for perfection.

    Matt

  • Report this Comment On November 12, 2009, at 3:47 AM, bmialone wrote:

    @ xetn: The reason "Obama's pay czar" does not cap Steve Job's salary is because he can't and he doesn't need to.

    Apple did not tank the economy stealing from the masses.

    Apple did not take billions in funds from tax payers and then turn around and use the money for self-gain instead of loans to the public for our economic engine; and loans to the public is what the Bush administration wanted when they foolishly handed over the bailout funds without legal strings to the same thieves who screwed us in the first place.

    Apple has not taken billions in federal tax bail out dollars from the public so Apple owes the general public nothing.

    That's the difference.

  • Report this Comment On November 12, 2009, at 3:55 AM, bmialone wrote:

    Apple and Costco have both taken heat from Wall Street for not being good enough to stockholders, but instead balancing long term vision, care for employees, and providing a quality service or product. Both companies ignored Wall Street criticism and have thriving companies even in the face of an economic meltdown.

    I respected their refusal to follow the example of Walmart, bleeding faraway manufacturers until they are willing to poison us to earn a few extra dollars, bleeding employees until I can't stand to do business with them because it is so depressing to have such demoralized people providing service to me, and providing cheap crap that will end up costing all of us in multiple ways we did not predict.

    Because of the balance shown by Apple and Costco, I am their customer and an investor in both. It's paid off.

  • Report this Comment On November 12, 2009, at 6:15 AM, 7footmoose wrote:

    things must be really slow over at the MF, this article doesn't even rise to a level of importance sufficient to print it, whether you credit Steve Jobs with Apple's rise in fortunes or not the company has prospered during his reign as CEO, i recall that Apple was near death when he returned after two dismal attempts by the board to bring in outsiders to run the company, he took $1.00 a year in salary and stock options, the company had a miniscule market value and even worse prospects as it was in the clutches of Mr Softie's vice grip, all that has changed and the shareholders have been handsomely rewarded, as for cash hoards check out the $294 billion stashed by the largest tech companies and the 25% of deposits held in cash and cash equivalents by the largest banks and you will have a clue that all of them are still deeply concerned about the state of the capital and liquidity markets, you too might benefit by holding onto some liquidity

  • Report this Comment On November 12, 2009, at 10:20 AM, dstb wrote:

    I agree with all of your concerns regarding Jobs. I watched Apple for awhile and it was the options scandal that kept me out of it for quite some time.

    The company should institute a dividend immediately. I have posted on the MF discussion boards regarding this topic.

    However, I wound up buying in last year when the share price became absurdly cheap. At an average cost of $90 per share I could not pass up a company that is unlike just about any other in innovation and understanding its market. And though the shares are no longer cheap, they are certainly not expensive when valued by cash flow and their strong growth potential.

    Despite his shortcomings, Jobs is still an asset to the company. As long as he and his executives keep performing I can overlook (not ignore) some of the compensation transgressions. Of course it shouldn't have to be that way but more companies than not could use more independent boards and shareholder minded CEOs.

    PS - one board member and this company's pro-"man-made global warming," anti-Chamber of Commerce stance almost had me selling, but I'm in to make money not friends.

  • Report this Comment On November 12, 2009, at 10:43 AM, TMFDiogenes wrote:

    Hey Folks,

    Some people have commented that Apple's cash hoard is $10 billion larger than the article says it is. From the article:

    "Apple has a rock-solid balance sheet, with a $23.5 billion cash hoard at its disposal and no debt."

    Those figures are from Capital IQ. The cash hoard is actually slightly less -- when we turn to the 10-K, we find Apple has $22.3 billion in cash and short-term investments. We'll correct that.

    The company does indeed have an additional $10.5 billion in long-term marketable securities, but these aren't included in calculations of cash hoards. Moreover, it would have been less fair for Rich to criticize Apple for holding them, because they could be returning more than 1.7%.

    Thanks for posting,

    Ilan (Rich's editor)

    Disclosure: I own shares of Apple. (Isn't it fun how reasonable people can disagree?)

    Page 73:

    http://phx.corporate-ir.net/External.File?item=UGFyZW50SUQ9M...

  • Report this Comment On November 12, 2009, at 11:01 AM, sewdog wrote:

    Some coutnerpoints to your article:

    Steve Jobs' takes $1 per year in salary for the company. I do not think any Apple investor would begrudge Mr. Jobs being awarded stock grants at any price. Nor would they begrduge him the use of a corporate jet for any reason. It is my impression that Apple is Steve's life and that there is very little that he does that does not somehow pertain to Apple.

    For technology companies, having cash on hand is an absolute necessity. I think the credit crunch and recession has demonstrated the wisdom of Apple's policy of cash retention. It allows the company the flexibility that all tech companies need while at the same time providing Apple investors with a safety net.

    In the final analysis, the only thing that matters to Apple investors is the return on their investment. As long as Apple can continue to deliver market-beating returns, we will have no complaint over Apple's cash, Steve's options, or any of the other criticisms levelled at the company by journalists and competing companies.

  • Report this Comment On November 12, 2009, at 11:17 AM, mikecart1 wrote:

    Never will buy AAPL shares until they give a dividend. Those stingy bastards with their iphones and ipods and icrap.

  • Report this Comment On November 12, 2009, at 11:22 AM, Clint35 wrote:

    I totally agree with Rich on this one. The fact that Jobs is a jerk I can handle. A lot of CEOs are. But when him and the other people running Apple kept denying that he was seriously ill, when he was, shows that they're liars. I know a lot of companies lie to their shareholders but most of the time there's no concrete proof. This time there is. When I know for sure people running the company are liars I stay away from the stock. That's why I wouldn't even consider buying apple even last year when it was under $100. But knowing what I now know about Plank I'm liking UA a lot more. I also agree with Rich's point about letting that much cash just sit around and earn so little interest. That's a terrible use of share-holder money. Jobs could cut the cash in half and still have plenty left over for a rainy day. Invest the other half in AT&T and get a 6% yield. Then return the 6% to shareholders. But he wouldn't do anything like that because he thinks it's his money not shareholder money. Good article Rich.

  • Report this Comment On November 12, 2009, at 11:31 AM, thorw wrote:

    I would disagree. I think the original premise is totally wrong and even worrisome. I think there is abundant proof that CEO's don't really care about investors (present economy as an example) and all the gnashing of teeth about how to change that (investor voting). I would much rather have a CEO that took $1 in pay and the rest in stock, at least the greed is aligned in the same direction as my benefits and that the delta between what they get the stock for and what they can get it to is a driver ... the longer the stock can get tied up before sale, the better my long-term return. Isn't this a reason we look for companies where the CxOs hold significant personal positions in the company in forms of stock?

    Having been in a company that was allegedly sold for $5/share less than the best offer, due to a better CxO bail-out (parachute) and currently where the 76%, ro 200% compensation increases at the CxO level was offset by the 10% - 20% pay reduction to its staff, pretty much netting a zero change even though company still scored a billion in net profit. I would hazard a guess that it's not in the best long-term interest of any stock holder.

    So as I said, it's great to see you quote that other CEOs reduced their salaries, but I'd rather go with a guy that set his original compensation at $1 and bet the rest on how well he can drive up the stock over the long term.

    As for handing off the leadership mantle, the last few product announcements have had others in the company stepping up to do that. I'm guessing it is already happening. Maybe he's just being careful, the last time he handed off the power to someone, they kicked him out and almost destroyed the company based upon short-term greed.

  • Report this Comment On November 12, 2009, at 11:33 AM, chriswb7 wrote:

    Rich - can you please add a graph of Apple's stock price from the time just before Jobs took over the company to now? Steve Jobs may be a "jerk" but he is a thoroughbred of CEOs and inspires FANATICISM from his customers about their products. Apple will be printing money well into the future and generating generous returns for its share holder's even if you *feel* its dumb luck. The proof is ALWAYS in the pudding Rich, so chill out and enjoy yours.

  • Report this Comment On November 12, 2009, at 11:38 AM, chriswb7 wrote:

    Rich - can you please add a graph of Apple's stock price from the time just before Jobs took over the company to now? Steve Jobs may be a "jerk" but he is a thoroughbred of CEOs and inspires FANATICISM from his customers about their products. Apple will be printing money well into the future and generating generous returns for its share holder's even if you *feel* its dumb luck. The proof is ALWAYS in the pudding Rich, so chill out and enjoy yours.

  • Report this Comment On November 12, 2009, at 12:05 PM, TMFTenacious wrote:

    Chris,

    Apple's success was not due to "dumb luck"; it was due to the introduction of high-quality, innovative products that resonated with its target customer base. However, as I mentioned in an earlier comment, Apple's great products and impressive past share price performance are not relevant to this discussion.

    I'd encourage you to scroll up a little and read TMFKopp's comment. He nailed the point I was trying to get across.

    Thanks for reading,

    Rich

  • Report this Comment On November 12, 2009, at 1:34 PM, artisticfish wrote:

    Why is it that when someone or something becomes incredibly powerful through its own brilliance, that people bend over backwards to take a stab at them/it. I believe removing Apple from its core recommendations list will prove to be one of the Motley Fool's most foolish mistakes.

    I watch Steve jet fly over my house once or twice a week and thank him for his incredibly tenacious nature that has built more wealth for my family than any other investment. As far as I'm concerned, that plane was a great investment for the kind of man who needs to be all the places he needs to be to run his company and live his life. And keeping the cash on the balance sheet is, in my eyes, a healthy practice.

    So much more I could say here, but don't think I want to spend any more time with this one.

    Are you a Madonna-hater too?

  • Report this Comment On November 12, 2009, at 2:22 PM, guiganol wrote:

    Criticize Jobs as much as you like (though I'm guessin' you'd have to say Buffett is a jerk too for his private jet. And for the fact that he refuses to pay a dividend. I know, I know, he's no Warren Buffett. Just as big of a "jerk" as he is.)

    But if you're going to say, "that's why -- despite great products, a killer brand, and mouthwatering growth potential -- I would advise against owning shares of his company", then I'm with Breaker Dave.

    End your AAPL pick already and throw that thumb down. Put your mouth where your mouth is. And TMFBent, I can't go with your argument. Too many people look at these Fool picks and it does influence opinion (heck, TMF is always advertising their allstars and what people are saying on this site). And no, I can't believe you'd put an "underperfom" on a stock you currently own. That'd be the same as telling everyone at a party that your stock is a dog and you deserve to lose your money----no, it sounds stupid even saying it.

    So Rich, you're telling us not to own this stock, let your "fantasy" pick reflect that.

  • Report this Comment On November 12, 2009, at 2:30 PM, l3iodeez wrote:

    Nobody, with the possible exception of the POTUS (even that I question), needs a private jet for their personal use.

  • Report this Comment On November 12, 2009, at 2:32 PM, l3iodeez wrote:

    An AAPL is overpriced. I rode it up from 90 to ~180, and then got out. The price reflects the notion that China will be buying iPhones and such. I don't think that will happen.

  • Report this Comment On November 12, 2009, at 2:35 PM, miteycasey wrote:

    After all, there is a long list of corporate leaders who managed to create significant shareholder value despite seriously deficient personalities -- from John Rockefeller to Henry Ford to Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT) Steve Ballmer.

    Steve Ballmer with Rockefeller and Ford? Really?

    In January 2000 he was named chief executive officer. MSFT=$97

    Now MSFT=$30.

  • Report this Comment On November 12, 2009, at 4:48 PM, FoolsWeR wrote:

    I don't think it is entirely fair to say this article is trash. Lots of factors effect a companies performance, and Rich is bringing attention to some that are important to him when making a investment decision. And there are statistics to back him up on some of these behaviors of CEO's. Perhaps Apple will buy some shares when this bubble burst? (it will pop don't you think. . .) Perhaps Jobs and the Board believe that shareholders would rather pay capital gains tax than income tax on a dividend? That can increase your year over year compounding . . .

  • Report this Comment On November 12, 2009, at 5:21 PM, RobertC314 wrote:

    Amazing how riled up everyone got here :) I did notice something that bothered me:

    --AppleOfMyEye Wrote:

    "I only wish that Rich had the influence to drive Apple's share price down so I could accumulate more than the 4650 shares I already own (not counting the shares controlled by the 100 put contracts I hold). Apple is a shining example of success. That comes through strong leadership. I just hate whiners and losers who can't take it when someone else does well. In this case, I'm positive that Steve Jobs doesn't care about Rich."

    I'm a little worried that someone doesn't understand their options. Put contracts decline in value as a stock goes up, they are useful either to insure a major position (I know to everyone a $900,000 position isn't major, but it sure would be for me) or to short a stock while limiting your downside risk. Either way, the tone of the posters statement is unsettling at best. Otherwise, they meant they sold those put contracts, in which case it is a risky strategy with limited upside (hopefully the options expire worthless) and huge downside if Apple falters around the time the options expire (being on the hook to buy an additional 10,000 shares at a price well above market).

  • Report this Comment On November 12, 2009, at 5:47 PM, TMFRhino wrote:

    Miteycasey,

    Your $97 figure isn't adjusted for splits or for that matter dividends.

    I could add that it's unfair to criticize a CEO for taking over in the peak of the dot-com bubble, at the end of the year the dividend and split adjusted price of Microsoft was $18/share.

    Not that I think Ballmer's been a great leader for the company (Bad direction online, poorly performing core products, failures in Wireless and entertainment), but your comment is misleading at best.

    -Eric

  • Report this Comment On November 12, 2009, at 6:57 PM, rm14543 wrote:

    This is an attempt to stir up controversy. It's all foolish talk. Stupid is as stupid does.

  • Report this Comment On November 13, 2009, at 12:46 AM, laughingatyou wrote:

    Name calling? Really?

    Most men stop name calling somewhere around their late teens, at least in the company of their employers, clients and potential clients. I believe you have the title of analyst, but possibly are trying to branch off into writing. I beg of you to please stop. You are embarrassing not only yourself but also the man who signs your paycheck. Curious move for an educated man, or maybe you have made your way up from the streets, like Jay-Z and Ice-T, and just never had the opportunity to learn about true respect.

    In either event; I suggest you spend more time engaged in your chosen profession, and less time writing about it.

    Hint: Get yourself an intern, any college sophomore will do a fine job transferring your expert analysis into an article we will all find informative, as well as, entertaining.

  • Report this Comment On November 13, 2009, at 6:56 AM, TopAustrianFool wrote:

    I have to say that there isn't any evidence, quote or anything from personal acquaintances of John Rockefeller that ever refer to personallity flaws. John Rockefeller 'the greedy man' gave more money away that he ever kept for himself. So if you have no credibility with John Rockefeller, how can I trust your opinion about Jobs. TMF needs to screen their wrtters better.

  • Report this Comment On November 13, 2009, at 9:27 AM, miteycasey wrote:

    Miteycasey,

    Your $97 figure isn't adjusted for splits or for that matter dividends.

    I could add that it's unfair to criticize a CEO for taking over in the peak of the dot-com bubble, at the end of the year the dividend and split adjusted price of Microsoft was $18/share.

    Not that I think Ballmer's been a great leader for the company (Bad direction online, poorly performing core products, failures in Wireless and entertainment), but your comment is misleading at best.

    -Eric

    I can not go back in history and change the day he's named CEO. I still standby he's a poor CEO. As Peter Lynch says a characteristic of an ideal business is that it is so simple to run that any monkey could do it and I feel Ballmer fits that description.

    MSFT success over the last 9 years, if you care to call it that, isn't because of his vision, leadership, or stewardship. It's because he was handed the reigns of a great company that has stagnated under his watch.

    Yet you still putting him in a category with Rockefeller and Ford???

    I could agree if you said Gates, but Ballmer?

    NO WAY!

  • Report this Comment On November 13, 2009, at 9:45 AM, TMFBent wrote:

    "Criticize Jobs as much as you like (though I'm guessin' you'd have to say Buffett is a jerk too for his private jet."

    Buffet never pretended to be earning zero per year while being given a private jet. And he recognized the issue by naming it the "indefensible."

    Of course, he's also stacked a board with compliant cronies, same as Jobs has at Apple. But you'll be hard pressed to find Warren Buffett being caught in lies to his shareholders and the SEC, pretending his health is a purely personal issue, or ripping off his business partners, as Jobs did Woz back in the day. I don't recall Warren Buffett's earning millions of dollars on a suspect stock swap of crooked back-dated options, either.

    When Jobs gives his billions away to the Gates foundation to help humanity, he can start earning his halo. Until then, he's the guy who gave us an improved walkman and more lifelike cartoon characters on the big screen. Admirable accomplishments, but hardly worth the worship.

  • Report this Comment On November 13, 2009, at 10:02 AM, stockoption44 wrote:

    Sixteen years ago I bought my first Apple computer. A few weeks later, enthralled with the Mac concept, I invested $10,000 in the stock, much to the displeasure of my investment counselor.

    This past month I bought my retirement home perched on a lake hillside after selling the Apple stock.

    I couldn't care if Steve Jobs sets kittens on fire for fun. He made an astonishing impact on the company and the industry as a whole.

    Whine on, those of you who panicked last year and sold when the Apple dropped down below $80.

  • Report this Comment On November 13, 2009, at 10:07 AM, TMFJoeInvestor wrote:

    "Curious move for an educated man, or maybe you have made your way up from the streets, like Jay-Z and Ice-T, and just never had the opportunity to learn about true respect."

    Or Kanye West, for that matter. Yo, Rich. I'm really happy for you on this commentary, and I'm gonna let you finish your comments. But Michael Lewis wrote one of the financial commentaries of all time this year: Wall Street on the Tundra. Of ALL TIME!!!

  • Report this Comment On November 13, 2009, at 1:46 PM, TMFCHarris wrote:

    TMFJoeInvestor for the win!

  • Report this Comment On November 13, 2009, at 2:16 PM, albersdg wrote:

    Not a single CEO that cares about the shareholder, if they did the CEO would work for little or nothing in favor of deferred compensation. That way, the CEO would reap the reward of his / her years of effort. Instead they get paid first.

    If CEOs cared about the shareholder they would convert the corporate goverance to:

    ONE SHAREHOLDER; ONE VOTE.

    No shareholder (i.e., mutul fund manager) which has 5 million shares should be allowed to cast 5 million votes and to swamp and overwhelm the vote of individul shareholders with only hundreds of shares. This bankrupt system ensures that the CEO is protected and not answerable to the shareholders.

    Since no CEO fixes the system. Not a single CEO, is concerned about the shareholder.

    Bill Gates is legendary for throwing tantrums. Ellison of Oracle certainly has a reputation for being self-absorbed and pompous.

    So Jobs put the cash where it earned only 1.7 percent, but was ultra-safe. Seems to have been the right call.

    Motley has more fools than anything else.

  • Report this Comment On November 13, 2009, at 5:59 PM, justaplugger wrote:

    Ya Rich, sorry company for sure!

    25bil in cash sitting thru a major recession earning a measly 1/2 bil per year. (and no debt).

    Increasing rev & earnings thru the recession and expanding.

    Great user friendly products and service with more coming.

    CEO who lead resurrection of company after being booted out a decade prior.

    Long term thinking (really bad thing).

    Stock up another 2bil today.

    Yep just a sorry sorry company!

    But Rich I thought we were supposed to focus unemotionally on the basic's?

  • Report this Comment On November 13, 2009, at 7:25 PM, casinojohn wrote:

    Well I've read about half of the comments and realized something. Usually when it comes to the almighty dollar, not too many people could give a rat's ass about their fellow man, let alone shareholders or any corporate america personalities. If your in the business of making money you will have a hard time being a humanitarian (unless, of course, there is a tax incentive). I own 11 shares of apple and I reckon I'll keep them. If I stayed away from the casino I probably would buy more. I think AAPL will double in the coming years. I own only Apple computers and continue to buy them for my family. I used to build, repair, sell, repair and repair PCs and finally saw the light. Apple's the sh@#.

  • Report this Comment On November 13, 2009, at 7:26 PM, casinojohn wrote:

    Well I've read about half of the comments and realized something. Usually when it comes to the almighty dollar, not too many people could give a rat's ass about their fellow man, let alone shareholders or any corporate america personalities. If your in the business of making money you will have a hard time being a humanitarian (unless, of course, there is a tax incentive). I own 11 shares of apple and I reckon I'll keep them. If I stayed away from the casino I probably would buy more. I think AAPL will double in the coming years. I own only Apple computers and continue to buy them for my family. I used to build, repair, sell, repair and repair PCs and finally saw the light. Apple's the sh@#.

  • Report this Comment On November 13, 2009, at 9:31 PM, laughingatyou wrote:

    the dogs in the back of the pack follow the lead dog, and they truly think he is the lead dog. In fact, they would follow him right over the edge of a cliff.

    Right before the the guy with the whip on the back of the sled jumped to safety.

    Keep following Joe

  • Report this Comment On November 13, 2009, at 10:37 PM, lcarliner wrote:

    Big problem with Apple is that their pricing policies continue to "rotten to the core"! Back in the early days of the Macintosh, when Microsoft finally came out with its first truly viable and compatible GUI (Windows 3.0 and 3.1), had Apple been willing to engage in some predatory price cutting, at could have become the dominant personal computer company!

  • Report this Comment On November 15, 2009, at 2:57 AM, RetireInMonaco wrote:

    I'm new to MDP. Just signed up today. I almost did not sign up after reading this article. I wasn't sure if Mr Greifner was the right investment counselor for me. Maybe I should've stayed with David G over at SA. I hope I didn't make a mistake. I'm long on AAPL and have owned their computers - latest MacBook PRO, several generations of iPods, all three generations of iPhones and Apple TV. (I even bought a Pioneer TV because it was the same TV they had displayed at the Apple Store hooked up to the Apple TV. If it was good enough for Apple, it was certainly good enough for me.) And I have yet to be disappointed. And yes, the stock has been good to me as well. By the way, I have been a member of TMF since 2001. And this is my very first post. Sometimes, you can't completely take the emotions out of your own investments.

  • Report this Comment On November 15, 2009, at 1:38 PM, wuff3t wrote:

    "Shouldn't the headline read, "Steve Jobs Could (not couldn't) Care Less About You?"..."

    No. Think about it.

    Rich, if you have contrary viewpoints such as this, please continue to publish articles about them. Quite why most of the people who have left comments seem to have become so enraged is beyond me. Perhaps their investment theses for AAPL are so weak that any hint of negative feedback causes them to suffer some sort of nervous breakdown; perhaps they are all seeking confirmation bias. I think the poster who stated that he wanted objective direction rather than conflicting viewpoints sum this up.

    But please TMF, don't ever pander to that desire - we can get that from Wall Street analysts who issue recommendations without any interest in whether they are right or wrong and whether those who follow their recommendations make or lose money. What makes TMF valuable is the wealth of different opinions its authors provide. Armed with these, those of us who care to take the time to consider all the relevant information can then make up our own minds on how we choose to invest.

  • Report this Comment On November 15, 2009, at 10:51 PM, VegasMartin wrote:

    I always wondered by Apple doesn't have a dividend with all that cash on hand. It never made sense to me. They have more than enough to cash to pay for R&D, so why not have a mere 2% dividend? That would add an extra little incentive to own AAPL stock. I will not buy many stocks unless they have a healthy yield.

    http://www.ShootTheBears.com

  • Report this Comment On November 15, 2009, at 10:51 PM, VegasMartin wrote:

    I always wondered by Apple doesn't have a dividend with all that cash on hand. It never made sense to me. They have more than enough to cash to pay for R&D, so why not have a mere 2% dividend? That would add an extra little incentive to own AAPL stock. I will buy many stocks unless they have a healthy yield.

    http://www.ShootTheBears.com

  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2009, at 11:11 AM, osho2025 wrote:

    One more reason not to own APPLE shares: Ubuntu.

  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2009, at 7:43 PM, FoolishNerd wrote:

    I wonder if the author's performance is judged by the number of responses he gets to an article. It is a very old and overused trick to say some controversial things to a loyal audience and then watch the sparks fly.

    Entertainment value: 0

    Education value: 0

    This article has damaged the reputation of TMF and has diminished my view of TMF as a valuable source of investment insight.

  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2009, at 10:45 PM, KayZeeDee wrote:

    Is the author a prophet of future doom? I think it's easy to take pot shots at a top company and predict a future fall from grace. The odds are in favor of a decline in value at some point in the near future... the question is how you define a "decline in value". Apple could take a down tick for a few months and the author could claim "See! I told you so!"

    I do agree that Jobs should have disclosed the information about his health to both Apple and Pixar shareholders. That is not a private decision when you are a "big wig" in a publicly traded company. That one decision alone smacks of self-serving financial motivations. But it doesn't mean Apple is headed for a fall.

    The real question we need to answer is: "Can Apple Thrive - Or Even Survive Without Steve Jobs?" - because that day is coming. I'm no prophet of doom, but I do know pancreatic cancer is not an easy opponent... Odds are bad for Steve Jobs (and I DO hate to say that for any human being... well, almost any, but Jobs isn't one I bear ill will towards).

  • Report this Comment On November 17, 2009, at 11:10 AM, goofycat wrote:

    Vegas Martin: What's so hot about 2%? I could never understand the touting of "dividend" stocks that offer anything less than the rate of inflation. Maybe I am spoiled with the 12% income I get from first deeds of trust loans. Granted, the principal never goes up, but it doesn't go down either, and the money keeps rolling in every month.

  • Report this Comment On November 17, 2009, at 4:43 PM, Pastabird wrote:

    Let's see. I purchased Apple several times between 1997 & 2000 & have an overall cost basis of $6.15 for the 7000 shares that I currently own. Oh yeah, I've sold 1000 shares 5 times now at around $120. Was I dumb to do that? I guess it depends on how you look at it. Just trying not to be a pig is one way to do it I suppose. At any rathe I'd say I've done pretty well with the stock.

    I'm sitting here working - and I mean WORKING on a 4 year old Power Mac (that's pre Intel for all of you "investors" who slave over money every day) Yes, I'll probably upgrade to the latest & greatest in a couple of years, but for now this 2.3GH Quad gets our work (Audio & Video Editing) done fast enough. Granted, it's not the hippest machine to talk about in this or any other forum, but it's totally reliable, there are no problems with the operating system - I'm even 2 versions behind in THAT area - and there are NEVER virus problems.

    My (Intel) Laptop works just fine & the IPhone that I switched to is a pleasure to you.

    Somehow I can't find it in my heart to get pissed off at Steve Jobs. That he's the force behind a company that makes products that WORK RIGHT matters more to me than whether he discloses personal information about his health or got his goddamn options for $24.00 or $18.00. That he's made me a millionaire from a relatively small investment of course helps too.

    When you do a column like this it just SCREAMS "oh, I've nothing to write about today, so lets kick up a little crap." What good does it do? Fodder perhaps for those who jump in & out of the stock - or any other for that matter - on a daily basis, hoping to rack up some nice looking numbers.

  • Report this Comment On November 17, 2009, at 5:30 PM, zadnor wrote:

    Caring too much about shareholders has been one of the causes of the short-term approach that has held back so much of American business. So I rather like a CEO who doesn't care about shareholders. Jobs makes smart business decisions for Apple, not decisions that will boost the stock price before the end of the quarter. Since I invest long-term, I'll take that.

  • Report this Comment On November 17, 2009, at 10:30 PM, tgauchat wrote:

    I would definitely take Steve Jobs over the average bank executive any day.

  • Report this Comment On November 18, 2009, at 9:25 PM, wenger2k wrote:

    Rich,

    I guess it makes me an idiot that I not only read your entire article, at least twice, but that I read all of the comments posted here as well. My conclusion is simply is that I just plain don't get your point of view. There is no possible way that I can look at what jobs has delivered either in isolation or in comparison to any CEO, current or otherwise, and find him contemptible to the point where I'd want to sell my shares in Apple. Frankly, I think you could make a far more compelling case with the Title "Blank Blank CEO of XYZ couldn't care less about you" than you can of Jobs. CEOs in general seem to be disproportionately ineffective and overpaid and yet you chose to pick on one of the arguably MOST effective CEO's of all time.

    BTW, I have several personal friends that either are or have been employees at Apple and I think few would use the term Jerk to describe Jobs. They'd call him demanding, task master, unrelenting, unforgiving, annoying, excessive and other things but never have I heard any call him a Jerk. Personally, I think its this complete focus on details that has made Apple what it is - this company is truly more an extension of Jobs than any other company I know of. I don't think you find another company even a 10th the size of Apple where the CEO is directly involved in detailed product decisions - Jobs is. If there is any negative to this though is that Jobs seems to have a special kind of magic that I don't believe can be simply handed to another person. For all those that push for an acceleration of the succession plan, I'd say be careful what you ask for. I for one will be grabbing most of my profits and pulling the money back off the table if & when Apple announces a formal succession plan.

  • Report this Comment On November 22, 2009, at 10:05 AM, NotAMacFanBoy wrote:

    This is not the type of information that does anyone any good.

    CANCEL MY SUBSCRIPTION AND REFUND MY MONEY!

  • Report this Comment On December 06, 2009, at 10:49 AM, bonanza4000 wrote:

    I like some of the Motley Fool services. That's why I've been paying for multiple for multiple years. However, I do not at all like the Motley Fool editorials. In fact I think that the Motle Fool editorials very much hurt the reputation of the Motle Fool brand. The reason I think this is because the editorials usually seem to be very thinly veiled attempts to draw attention to Motley Fool, for marketing reasons. And they do this at the expense of saying something that actually has value, while having a very provocative title. This editorial is yet another such example, attempting to market the MDP service. As a result I almost never read them any more. But this one was called out in one of the Motle Fool services I subscribe to as worth a read. It was not. But is certainly was a waste of 5 minutes of my time.

  • Report this Comment On December 12, 2009, at 10:59 AM, stefnagel wrote:

    Wallstreeters calling Jobs indifferent is obscene.

  • Report this Comment On December 12, 2009, at 10:59 AM, stefnagel wrote:

    But funny.

  • Report this Comment On July 23, 2011, at 8:06 PM, BertC2 wrote:

    "With his company's stock trading for $200 per share, that's a risk that I'd rather not incur. "

    Now that AAPL is fast approaching $400 share, it's clear that you totally missed-out on the greatest money making opportunity. So, if you invested in technology, where did you put that money? PALM? RIMM? MSFT? NOK? DELL? HPQ? MOT?

  • Report this Comment On October 24, 2011, at 3:30 PM, chiangshih wrote:
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