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# 141108 1-Mar-2014 15:21
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At the Apple annual shareholder meeting Tim Cook was asked by the NCPPR to commit right then and there to doing only those things that were profitable.

His response?

 

"There are many things Apple does because they are right and just, and a return on investment (ROI) is not the primary consideration on such issues."

"When we work on making our devices accessible by the blind," he said, "I don't consider the bloody ROI." He said that the same thing about environmental issues, worker safety, and other areas where Apple is a leader.

 

He didn't stop there, however, as he looked directly at the NCPPR representative and said, "If you want me to do things only for ROI reasons, you should get out of this stock."

 

 

 

Source: http://www.macobserver.com/tmo/article/tim-cook-soundly-rejects-politics-of-the-ncppr-suggests-group-sell-apples-s

The NCPPR is The National Center for Public Policy Research - which is basically a conservative think tank/lobbyist group in the US.




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  # 997110 1-Mar-2014 15:27
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A company with ethics or just marketing speak, who knows but sounds really good.

I would think stakeholders wouldn't be too impressed but given the price charged for Apple products I would think thier investment is pretty sound.





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  # 997112 1-Mar-2014 15:34
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And this is how the NCPPR interpreted it:

Tim Cook to Apple Investors: Drop Dead
At today's annual meeting of Apple shareholders in Cupertino, California, Apple CEO Tim Cook informed investors that are primarily concerned with making reasonable economic returns that their money is no longer welcome...



 
 
 
 




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  # 997133 1-Mar-2014 15:43
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LOL. He told them to get out of the stock, sounds like they want to.

Apple is undervalued if you look at their assets and income. But then the stock market is not a logical or reasonable place, its a lot about psychology. In that sense its pretty gutsy to respond the way Tim Cook did.

Might give the stock a hit in the short term (which could actually benefit Apple, since they are doing stock buy backs), but I doubt it will be a long term problem for Apple. And I think it boosts the respect of the company with people that care about a little more than just how much money they can get out of depleting the world of resources.




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  # 997134 1-Mar-2014 15:43
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As an investor myself I would not be comfortable receiving any investment returns derived from deliberate or negligent exploitation of workers, environmental vandalism, discriminative practices, etc. If I found out that anything like this were happening then I would be having a serious conversation with my fund manager.

People often like to characterise business executives and share market investors as if none of them have any social conscience but the reality is that they're only human and they don't all operate like Rupert Murdoch.

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  # 997162 1-Mar-2014 16:31
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jeffnz: A company with ethics or just marketing speak, who knows but sounds really good.




It's pretty tough, actually. A publicly listed corporation exists for one purpose only: to make it's shareholders profits. A CEO can get away with 'throwing away' money on things that don't make profits only to the extent that the shareholders think it's a worthwhile cost to make sure the profits keep coming in. There are limits to what Johnny Ive can do; it may be that he really wants to donate all Apple's cash to charity for all I know. But he can't, and if he tried he'd be out of there so fast Einstein would have a rethink. He might even end up being investigated for failing in his fiduciary duty - which is to make profits.

So, we all need to give the man a break. He's not perfect, and neither is Apple, but it's a fine line to walk.




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  # 997166 1-Mar-2014 16:40
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Apple's stock price was going down for a while ... mostly because the dimwits in journalism and the stock exchange keep expecting Apple to continually release brand new "miracle" products and whining on about product "evolution" rather than "revolution". :-\

Until fairly recently, Apple did not pay any dividends to stockholders. There's also an American billionaire trying to get Apple to buy back it's shares - a large part of his methods seems to be by going around buying up as many shares as he can himself.




alasta: People often like to characterise business executives and share market investors as if none of them have any social conscience

I don't know about social, but most of them certainly seem to have very little moral conscience, same as those running "finance companies". It's all about stuffing as much money into their own pockets as they can, and usually at someone else's expense. :-(

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  # 999575 5-Mar-2014 15:57
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SaltyNZ:
jeffnz: A company with ethics or just marketing speak, who knows but sounds really good.




It's pretty tough, actually. A publicly listed corporation exists for one purpose only: to make it's shareholders profits. A CEO can get away with 'throwing away' money on things that don't make profits only to the extent that the shareholders think it's a worthwhile cost to make sure the profits keep coming in. There are limits to what Johnny Ive can do; it may be that he really wants to donate all Apple's cash to charity for all I know. But he can't, and if he tried he'd be out of there so fast Einstein would have a rethink. He might even end up being investigated for failing in his fiduciary duty - which is to make profits.

So, we all need to give the man a break. He's not perfect, and neither is Apple, but it's a fine line to walk.

I don't believe any corporation exists to make profits at all costs. All corporations exist within a context, and they want to maximise their profit within that context. For some, that will mean acting "ethically" (whatever that means), for some it won't. As long as the shareholders are aware that that's a focus for the company then there's no problem.

 
 
 
 


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  # 999578 5-Mar-2014 16:03
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bazzer:
I don't believe any corporation exists to make profits at all costs. All corporations exist within a context, and they want to maximise their profit within that context. For some, that will mean acting "ethically" (whatever that means), for some it won't. As long as the shareholders are aware that that's a focus for the company then there's no problem.


Are you sure? There are millions of companies out there and I am sure some of them exist solely to make money at all costs. If not, the earth wouldn't be in such a poor state with massive deforestation, and mass pollution.

I don't really have a problem with apple and their ethics, and without apple,I don't think we would have had the technology jumps we have had.

I think that any company though that subcontracts out to another country needs to be careful that the well being of staff working in those companies is looked after to the same standards as if they were employed directly by them in their own country. Also that the production of the goods isn't causing pollution and using sustainable cheap coal power to produce those goods. Even though the companies margin will be greater due to lowering the costs, we will all end up paying for those cheaper products if it is causing more harm to the environment , than if it was made locally.

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  # 999663 5-Mar-2014 18:19
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bazzer: 
I don't believe any corporation exists to make profits at all costs.


People might not exist to make profits at all costs, but corporations are amoral entities created with profit as goal. Even if the people which staff the corporation are not actively evil, the entity as a whole often, once big, succumbs to the same sorts of social phenomena which lead to crowds standing around watching people get beaten up without intervening. Responsibility is diluted, with the added dynamic that you can't do things which would cost the company or you'll lose your job. Therefore even good people eventually, as a group, end up creating a corporation that does evil things. This very aptly named book is a great explanation of how it all goes wrong.




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  # 999673 5-Mar-2014 18:48
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Bitcoin is where it's at, people.

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  # 999926 6-Mar-2014 06:38
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muppet: Bitcoin is where it's at, people.


I hear Mt. Gox is on sale for cheap.




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  # 1000020 6-Mar-2014 10:39
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SaltyNZ:
bazzer: 
I don't believe any corporation exists to make profits at all costs.

People might not exist to make profits at all costs, but corporations are amoral entities created with profit as goal.

Nice piece of selective quoting. Obviously, profit is the goal. I'm simply saying that corporations operate within a context. This context dictates the way they act and the limits that they'll push to attain the profit. This could be regulation/legislation, cultural, ethical, whatever.

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  # 1000078 6-Mar-2014 12:11
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I struggle with Tim Cook's ethical corporation line when at the same time I'm hearing that Apple pays 0.5% tax on its international profits by way of an agreement with countries like Ireland. Only libertarians think that all taxation is theft, but how can a tax rate that low be considered ethical.

Apple are not the only multinational that do it. But their CEO is the one claiming the high ground.




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  # 1000092 6-Mar-2014 12:34
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Dingbatt: I struggle with Tim Cook's ethical corporation line when at the same time I'm hearing that Apple pays 0.5% tax on its international profits by way of an agreement with countries like Ireland. Only libertarians think that all taxation is theft, but how can a tax rate that low be considered ethical.

Apple are not the only multinational that do it. But their CEO is the one claiming the high ground.


Yeah, but that goes back to what I said earlier. The CEO might get away with donating a million dollars to a cancer charity because hey, cheap PR. But he won't get away with saying 'You know what, we really should be paying 33% tax on our real profits instead of 0.5% tax on the smallest number our accountants can come up with.'




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  # 1000099 6-Mar-2014 12:43
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bazzer:

Nice piece of selective quoting.


Thanks, you too.


Obviously, profit is the goal. I'm simply saying that corporations operate within a context. This context dictates the way they act and the limits that they'll push to attain the profit. This could be regulation/legislation, cultural, ethical, whatever.


That's true, but it also completely misses the point. Of course the CEO isn't going to decide to dump barrels of toxic waste onto Rangitoto ... there are laws against that, so he/she is constrained. But there might not (hypothetically) be a law against dumping them 50km off shore. And since that will be a lot cheaper than properly disposing of them there will be intense pressure from the organisation to do that.

To the extent that they themselves want to do the right thing, officers of a company can do profit-losing good things if the context that dictates the way they act allows them to. They can make the right decision to not dump toxic waste, or exploit poverty-line workers, when there are laws that provide them with clear and effective penalties for not doing so. If there is no such constraint, then a pattern of profit-losing decisions -- even if they are the right ones -- will eventually result in them losing their jobs, at which point they have no further opportunity to make an impact. Therefore, they need to tread carefully, doing what they can, where they can, without upsetting the shareholders who do *not* give a flying function about glowing green waste or Chinese people.




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