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This is Tim: Cook at the 2013 Goldman Sachs conference

Macworld staff | Feb. 13, 2013
On cash balances

On cash balances

Apple doesn't have a Depression-era mentality. Apple makes bold and ambitious bets on products, and we're conservative financially. But if you really look at what we've done in terms of investments...Last year we invested $10 billion in CapEx, we think we're going to do a similar amount this year. We're investing in retail stores and distribution around the world. Most importantly we're investing in product innovation, in R&D, in new products; we're investing in the supply chain. We're acquiring some companies. And so I think it's hard--or at least my definition of Depression-era mentality wouldn't include a company that's investing this much over two years. And when you add that to the fact that we announced just over a year ago that we're returning $45 billion to shareholders through a combination of dividends and stock buyback, and we've already completed $10 billion of that, I don't know how a company with a Depression-era mindset would've done all of those things.

And so now, we do have some cash, but it's a privilege to be in this position. You know, last quarter alone, the cash flow from operations from Apple was over $23 billion. And so it's an incredible privilege for us to be in a position that we can seriously consider returning additional cash toward shareholders. The management team and the board are in very active discussions, and we will do so deliberately and thoughtfully, we'll evaluate a series of alternatives. I think that's what our shareholders want and that's what we're going to do.

On the Greenlight proposal

Well, I think it's creative, and we are going to thoroughly evaluate their current proposal. We welcome all ideas from all of our shareholders, including Greenlight, and we're going to thoroughly consider it.

On the proxy lawsuit

I don't think this is well-understood. The disagreement centers around a proposal on Apple's proxy, which we filed our preliminary proxy back in December. It's called Prop 2, and what this proposal is about, it's about the rights of shareholders. Specifically, I want to be very clear on this: It's not about whether Apple returns additional cash to shareholders, it's not about how much cash to return to shareholders, it's not about the mechanism to return it, it's not about any of those things. It's about the rights of shareholders.

Some time ago, early in 2012, we were looking at what things we could do to improve our governance further. And as a part of that review, one of the items that came out of that was that we thought we should eliminate a "blank check preferred" [clause] from Apple's charter. And what that means is not that Apple could not release common shares, or release preferred shares, it just says that if Apple decided to do it, we'd need to go to our common shareholders to get their approval.


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