Apple 2.0

Covering the business that Steve Jobs built

Here's why Apple doesn't listen to its shareholders

December 12, 2012: 11:45 AM ET

What do any of their concerns have to do with building great products?

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FORTUNE -- If Tim Cook needed further validation of Steve Jobs' policy of ignoring the needs and entreaties of Apple's (AAPL) shareholders, the results of the survey at right, released Wedenesday, could provide it.

It comes from a recent luncheon in New York City with several dozen Apple investors that was hosted by Barclays analysts Ben Reitzes and Anthony DiClemente.

If "the thing that makes your heart beat" -- as Cook never tires of saying -- "is a maniacal focus on making the best products in the world," what do you care if 30% of your investors are bearish, if 55% think lower margins are your biggest headwind, if 60% view Google (GOOG) as your biggest threat or what their 2013 price targets might be?

The clincher for me was Question 5: "What should Apple do with its cash?"

At a time when the company is spending billions of dollars shoring up chip and touchscreen supplies and investing in plants and equipment to try to meet demand for its newest products, 9 out of 10 shareholders apparently think the best use of those billions would be to pay shareholders bigger cash dividends or to drive up Apple's stock price by accelerating the company's share repurchase program.

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About This Author
Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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