The China trip was a visit to Foxconn, Apples main manufacturing partner. Cook argued for better pay and safer working conditions. Apple also changed its mind over withdrawing its products from an environmental certification program. Cook traveled to Washington, D.C., earlier this year to meet congressman and senators, a way of letting politicians know Apple was ready to grow its relationship with Capitol Hill and that the company might take a stronger interest in policy issues in the future, writes CNNs Heather Kelly, in How Apple has changed under Tim Cook.
Kelly notes that Apple hosted investors at its California headquarters, where they met with the companys CFO. And Apple announced its first shareholder dividend in 17 years.
There have been missteps, or blunders or what are seen as blunders, such as this list by Mashable.coms Seth Fiegerman. In the post-Steve Jobs era, Apples top executives appear to be making more mistakes and to be more willing to admit them, Fiegerman writes. His list of Apples biggest blunders during this period include withdrawing from the environmental certification program, cutting back on the number of retail employees, and replacing Google Maps with its own location platform, Maps. Apple executives issued apologies in all three cases.
But Cooks letter to customers (see transcript) was more nuanced than a general apology for Apple Maps. At Apple, we strive to make world-class products that deliver the best experience possible to our customers, he wrote in a brief letter posted on the companys website. With the launch of our new Maps last week, we fell short on this commitment. He promised the Apple was doing everything we can to make Maps better.
Fiegerman lists also what he calls blunders that Apple hasnt apologized for, or even acknowledged: the new Siri and Genius TV ad campaigns; a standalone podcast app released in July; and the beta release of Siri a year ago. All three were greeted by some with criticism.
Investors like what theyve seen over the last 12 months. Apples stock price has risen about 76%, from $372 per share on Oct. 4, 2011 to $671.45 on Oct. 3, 2012. It briefly topped $700 in early September. Its market capitalization on Oct. 3 was $625.77 billion, an increase of about $265 billion in value from 13 months ago that makes Apple the worlds most valuable public company.
The brand consultancy, Interbrand, just named Apple as the number 2 global brand for 2012, trailing only Coca Cola, and beating out IBM, Google and Microsoft. Its rise over the past year was dramatic: in the 2011 ranking, Apple was number 8 in brand value, an Interbrand metric that measures several values, such as the financial performance of branded products or services and the brands overall strength.
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