Ralph Nader tells Apple to give massive profits to the little guys


quotes on Apple
Ralph Nader says Apple management spent $100 billion to "enhance their own executive compensation package."
Illustration: Cult of Mac

Apple becoming the world’s first trillion dollar company has put it in the crosshairs of consumer advocates, including Ralph Nader. He heavily criticized the company for a $100 billion stock buyback, instead of using the money to pay employees more, improve recycling efforts, increase R&D, or making other productive investments.

Nader is angered that businesses like Apple have spent so much of the Republican tax cuts put in place last year on stock buybacks, rather than the “productive investment and jobs” they promised. 

“Stock buybacks do not create any jobs. They don’t create any productive investment,” the consumer advocate told NPR.

Nader argued “while people like [Apple CEO] Tim Cook know how to make a lot of money for the company, they don’t know really what to do with it other than to enhance their own executive compensation package.”

Ralph Nader contrasts Steve Jobs and Tim Cook

Clearly, Ralph Nader is no fan of Apple’s current CEO. He told NPR, “Under Steve Jobs, stock buybacks were prohibited. He paid himself very little. When Tim Cook came over, everything changed. And while they know how to make enormous money with their overpriced iPhones, they don’t know how to productively use it.”

Nader has suggestions of better ways to spend $100 billion.  “It could’ve been used, — 2 percent of it, to double the income of the serf laborers — 1.3 million Chinese laborers in the contractor that builds the iPhones. It could have had 2 percent of 100 billion to improve the recycling of used computers and phones, which are endangering both the environment and the workers. It could’ve been put in productive investment. It could’ve been put in research and development. It could’ve been sent to cash dividends back to the shareholder, but no.”

Nader is proud of being something of a luddite. He doesn’t own an iPhone or a MacBook. “I’m not involved in email and all the nonsense. I use an Underwood typewriter.”

This isn’t a new topic. Nader has been blasting Apple for stock buybacks since 2014. And others have criticized the company for stingy R&D spending.