Two main news items came from Apple’s annual shareholder meeting held Thursday: CEO Steve Jobs wants to hang onto the company’s $25 billion in cash for “big and bold” future investments and the firm borne of the desktop computer now considers itself a “mobile devices company.”
“This is not something we’re ordaining from the top. This is something our customers are saying with their dollars,” Jobs said, according to Reuters. Apple could get half of its revenue from the iPhone by 2011, an analyst said Thursday. However, Jobs stressed there are no plans to scuttle Apple’s line of desktop computers.
Jobs said that cash in the bank provides the company enough security to write a check without risking the company. Apple’s stock had risen prior to the meeting on rumor the company might announce a 4-for-1 stock split, a topic Jobs never addressed. Apple’s last dividend was nearly 20 years ago in 1995.
Although Apple can now make purchases, such as mobile ad firm Quattro and online music firm Lala, without arranging debt, the size of those acquisitions may need to increase to match the company’s growth. Jobs said the firm must think “pretty bold — pretty large.”
Jobs defended Google CEO Eric Schmidt’s conduct while on Apple’s board of directors. Although Schmidt’s tenure on the board was only from 2006-2007, the Apple CEO said the Google leader behaved ethically, excusing himself from discussions of matters where the two companies might conflict. The defense was in stark contrast to private remarks attributed to Jobs suggesting Google wanted to kill Apple’s iPhone.
Apple also made news when Jobs announced the company plans to open 25 stores in China.