I’ve been writing for Cult of Mac for almost three years now, and in that time I’ve covered some pretty farfetched Apple rumors. But the latest from Forbes comes with a whole new level of crazy.
“Some Wall Street sources close to some Apple executives” say the Cupertino company could be searching for a replacement for Tim Cook, it claims, before suggesting Cook could turn Apple into another Hewlett-Packard or JC Penney and insisting “Apple’s shine has faded” since the passing of Steve Jobs.
“There’s yet no available evidence that the board of the once-mighty top tech-innovator is officially in such a game-changing mode,” Forbes’ Gene Marcial admits. “But if it isn’t yet pursuing such a goal, it should, according to some big stakeholders, who have trimmed their Apple holdings.”
Marcial’s “sources” claim that the Apple board is privately looking to oust Cook, who led the company’s share price to an all-time peak last September. But with those shares now sliding rapidly, it’s a great time to write bullshit rumors that’ll pull in some page views.
“At least one of [the Apple board members] believes there’s a move by some at the company to search for someone with credible credentials and superb tech qualifications to take over and turn things around, lest Apple go the way of Hewlett-Packard and JC Penney,” Marcial writes.
Marcial is surprised that Wall Street firms “remain generally positive towards Apple,” despite its falling share price, which has plummeted from $702 a share last September to $390 a share on Friday. “The Street’s bullish stance is astonishing considering that some $290 billion of Apple’s market value has been wiped out in just six months,” he writes.
Marcial points out that not one of the 37 analysts from major securities firms who follow Apple has downgraded the company’s stock to sell, but 25 of them still recommend the stock as a “strong buy.” That’s thanks to Apple’s $137 billion cash pile, and the anticipation of new iOS devices and another revolutionary product in the coming months.
“But the real issue confronting Apple is its lamentable slowed growth — and whether the slowdown will continue,” Marcial writes, before citing analysts who claim Apple’s sales will never be the same again, and that growth will continue to be slow.
“So unless Apple CEO Cook announces something really dramatic in new products or astronomical earnings on Tuesday, the stock will surely decline even more. And so will Tim Cook’s standing with shareholders and investors — and Wall Street,” Marcial concludes. “That may finally signal his exit.”
Doesn’t this sound like a premature attack from a moody Apple shareholder who’s pissed their stock isn’t making them a profit? But Marcial isn’t the only one.
Fortune’s Philip Elmer-DeWitt reports that Doug Kass, a small hedge fund manager who’s been known to manipulate Apple stock before, is also at it. “From my Gnome, high above the Alps — “Is Apple’s Tim Cook… Cooked?” he tweeted on Sunday, two days before Apple announces its earnings.
So what’s really going on here?
“Make no mistake, the people who want Tim Cook’s head on a spike are not friends of Apple,” writes Elmer-DeWitt. “As far as I know, he still has the deep respect of the analysts who know the company best and — most important — the confidence of the board of directors.”
Elmer-DeWitt also points out that even at today’s share price, Apple is still trading higher than it was when Cook first replaced Steve Jobs. “The forces that drove the stock up to over $700 and then down to below $390 seem to me to have more to do with a dysfunctional securities market than anything Cook has done as CEO,” he says.
So don’t take any notice of the rumors you read suggesting Tim Cook could be on his way out of Apple. Chances are they came from disgruntled shareholders who are trying to manipulate the company’s stock price to make a quick buck.