Thursday, February 7, 2013

Apple Inc. (AAPL) Releases Plans For Shareholder Dividends

Street Insider released a report moments ago, with excerpts from Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s report on plans for cash dividends for this year. Below, we have included those statements.

By early last year, Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL) cash balance had built to a point beyond what we needed to run our business and maintain flexibility to take advantage of strategic opportunities, so we announced a plan to return $45 billion to shareholders over three years. As of next week we will have executed $10 billion of that plan.

We find ourselves in the fortunate position of continuing to generate large amounts of cash, including $23 billion in cash flow from operations in the last quarter alone.

Apple’s management team and Board of Directors have been in active discussions about returning additional cash to shareholders. As part of our review, we will thoroughly evaluate Greenlight Capital’s current proposal to issue some form of preferred stock. We welcome Greenlight’s views and the views of all of our shareholders.

As a part of our efforts to further enhance corporate governance and serve our shareholders’ best interests, Proposal #2 in our proxy includes some recommended changes to our articles of incorporation. These changes were recommended independently of Greenlight’s proposal and would not preclude Apple from adopting their concept. Contrary to Greenlight’s statements, adoption of Proposal #2 would not prevent the issuance of preferred stock. Currently, Apple’s articles of incorporation provide for the issuance of “blank check” preferred stock by the Board of Directors without shareholder approval. If Proposal #2 is adopted, our shareholders would have the right to approve the issuance of preferred stock. As such, Proposal #2 has the support of many of our shareholders.

It appears that Apple has had a very profitable year, despite the plummet of its share price from $705 in September, to its current trading value of $468 per share. Tim Cook is planning on passing the profit along to shareholders, and that appears to be garnering support. Perhaps we will soon see Apple begin to rise back towards its prestigious place at the top of the world's most valuable companies list.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Google Inc. (GOOG) Catching Apple In The Apps Race

It appears that Google Inc. (GOOG) is close to scoring a major coup on Apple Inc. (AAPL) in regards to mobile apps. For 5 years Apple has been the king of the mobile app world, but according to, Google is catching up to Apple.

There are now more than 700,000 apps available in Google Play, which is the Android version of Apple's App Store. Developers seem to have realized that Android is a dominate force in the mobile world, and many of them are developing apps for both iOS and Android. This seems to be perfect for developers, after all, if you can reach your target audience no matter what browser they use, then why not?

According to Bloomberg news, sales of Android apps increased by double from the third to the fourth quarter, which indicates a major upswing for Google. The cause of this is no doubt that developers are creating apps for both platforms. One developer even went so far as to say that his company treats Apple and Google as equals when it comes to resources spent on development of apps.

The Samsung Galaxy SIII is the most likely cause for Android's rise towards the top. The handset is one of the most popular Android based phones ever, and it is iPhone's largest competitor. While the lawsuits between Samsung and Apple have hardly been settled, and Apple is still hoping for a ban on some Samsung products, this latest fight may be more important than any of the lawsuits we have seen. Overtaking Apple's App Store would be a major stroke for Google. After all, Apple invented the smartphone, and it isn't likely that the executives will take lightly that a competitor has overtaken them. With 800,000 apps available, Apple is on top, for now.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Apple Is Gaining Ground Over Google’s Android OS -- Or Are They?

CNN Money reports that Apple is beginning to gain ground in market share over Google’s Android OS. According to a Net Applications report that was issued on Friday, Android’s web presence peaked in November, when it held a 28% share of the worldwide market of mobile web usage. However, Google Inc. (GOOG)’s presence has been sliding since then.

Apple Inc. (AAPL) has a different tale to tell regarding web market share. iOS, Apple’s mobile web OS has been on a steady rise since October of 2012. The iPhone 5 and iPad mini product launches seem to have fueled a major increase in the number of people who are utilizing Apple devices to access the web on mobile browsers.

While this seems to be a good report for Apple, other firms have released reports that are contradictory to Net Applications’. IDC, a market research firm, has Android devices ranking higher than Apple in sales figures. For instance, their report indicates that Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (BC94)’s Android based smartphones outsold Apple during the quarter. Samsung’s tablet computers are also rapidly gaining ground on the iPad line offered by Apple. 

Thursday, CNN Money had a headline that read “IDC says Android is thenew king of tablet market share.” This seems to completely contradict what Net Applications has stated.
Philip Elmer-DeWitt, a CNN Money author admits that he was rather skeptical of the reports from IDC, considering that Apple Inc. is the only major tablet manufacturer who actually releases their sales figures. He points out that unlike IDC, who according to him “seems to pull numbers out of thin air”, Net Applications is actually counting data usage.

According to his article today, Google can not possibly be the king of mobile browsing when only 24.5% of mobile users are accessing the web on Android devices, while Apple holds more than 60% of that market share.

I tend to agree with his closing statement, where he says, “either a lot of Android owners are not using their devices to surf the Web—which is certainly possible—or someone’s numbers are screwy.” It would seem that IDC is releasing research that is dangerously slanted towards Google Inc. (GOOG), which leads to some interesting questions.

In an update to the article, the author points out that Strategy Analytics released a report regarding these issues stating that Apple became the number one vendor of mobile phones in the U.S. However, he cautions that this company also pulls numbers from mysterious sources similar to IDC, so there may not be cause for celebration in Apple camps.

I think it is safe to say that Apple is a dominant force in the mobile market. Whether or not they outrank Google in market share seems to be nothing more than a matter of opinion, and until we get Android tablet manufacturers to release their sales figures, it will continue to be just that- opinion.