Apple's Jobs rejects dividend, board re-elected
Apple Inc. Chief Executive Steve Jobs defended the company's huge cash holdings, saying the consumer electronics giant had no plans to pay a dividend and prefers instead to expand its reserves for future use.
Jobs told Apple shareholders at their annual meeting on Thursday that he preferred to "leave the powder dry" for possible acquisitions, though none were in the offing. He added the cash "will come in handy." At the end of last year, Apple had nearly $25 billion in cash and short-term securities on its balance sheet.
At the meeting, shareholders re-elected Jobs and Apple's board of directors, which includes former Vice President Al Gore, Genentech Inc. Chairman Arthur Levinson and Avon Products Inc. Chief Executive Andrea Jung. The election comes just before the company's iPad, a tablet computer that has been the object of much commentary in the technology press, goes on sale.
The vote also comes after a shake-up of Apple's board last August when Google Inc. CEO Eric Schmidt stepped down. Since that time, the Internet search company has begun selling its own mobile phone that competes with one of Apple's key products: the iPhone.
Jobs defended Schmidt when asked by a shareholder if the Google chief had behaved properly when serving as an Apple board member."Eric Schmidt conducted himself appropriately and recused himself on matters that might involve conflict," Jobs said.
Jobs said Apple remained open to alliances with other companies, but only if they made financial sense."Anything's possible if there's a really big payoff at the end of it," Jobs said.
Jobs said he saw promise in the China market and said the company would open up to 25 of its Apple stores in the country in the near future.
Shareholders appeared tolerant of Apple's stance on dividends--it hasn't paid one since 1995--particularly given the sharp rise in Apple's share price. Apple shares have jumped roughly 130% over the last 12 months alone and closed 1.3% higher at $202 on Thursday.
"Apple uses its cash to invest in the value of its products," said San Jose attorney Matthew Rafat, who attended the meeting."I'm happy as long as Apple keeps making great products."
Источник: Total Telecom
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