Apple, like many big companies, gets confused for its stock. Like any public company, it's also subject to intense scrutiny, including from people who don't understand its position or business, or who simply want to take advantage of it. Felix Salmon does a great job explaining why that is, and what should be done about it. Reuters
Steve Jobs always regretted going public. He raised very little money by doing so, and in return he ended up with people like Carl Icahn constantly second-guessing his decisions. Jobs was good at ignoring such gadflies; his successor, Tim Cook, is a little more shareholder-friendly. But shareholders really do nothing for Apple, which hasn't had a public stock offering in living memory, and which has so much money now that it can pay its employees large amounts of cash to retain talent, instead of having to force them to gamble with restricted stock units.
In other words, Apple should be run a bit like Bloomberg: as a profitable company which pays well, which concentrates first and foremost on making its product as great as possible, and which doesn't try to be something it's not, or allow itself to be distracted with financial engineering. Sometimes its stock will go up, and sometimes its stock will go down. But the company, and its core values, will endure.
Both Steve Jobs and Tim Cook have said this repeatedly. They worry about the top line and let the bottom line take care of itself. They pay attention to making great products, not the stock price. I can see how that no doubt drives some people crazy. Good. The insanity and manipulations of the market deserve some crazy back.
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