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Ralph Nader pens open letter to Tim Cook criticizing $100B buyback, suggests lowering prices & more instead

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During its earnings release over a week ago, Apple announced a new $100 billion share buyback program. The move, while praised by some investors, has been controversial among some who say Apple should put its profits to use in another manner. Now, American politician Ralph Nader is joining those criticizing the new buyback program…

This week, Nader published an open letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook, explaining how there are better ways for Apple to put that money to work. Nader opens the letter by criticizing Tim Cook for not consulting Apple stockholders for their approval:

Last week, you announced the largest single stock buyback in corporate history, amounting to $100 billion.  Probably no more than you and two other Apple executives made this decision prior to receiving the expected rubber stamp from your congenial board of directors.  Your company’s owners – Apple stockholders– were neither consulted nor asked for their approval.

Nader also notes that the success of stock buybacks is a mixed bag – pointing to Cisco as an example. “Cisco, after huge buybacks and much greater profits and size, has its stock about one-half of its March 2000 value,” Nader writes.

Perhaps most notably, however, the politician outlines the other ways Apple could have used its profits that “would receive positive public reactions.”

First, Nader says that for 2 percent of that $100 billion buyback – or $2 billion – Apple could “award a full year’s pay bonus to the 350,000 Foxconn workers. Such a move would provide “economic relief and happiness” to the workers who “sweat for your immense wealth in difficult workplace conditions, unable to afford the Apple phones they manufacture.”

Nader then suggests Apple use some of the $100 billion on research and development, specifically relating to improving supply chain conditions:

You can invest in research and development on ways you can diminish the effects of your company’s toxic supply chain that stretches from the dangerous mines in Africa to the hazardous solid waste disposal when users discard them.  Many serious illnesses, fatalities, and injuries associated with manufacturing your products can be prevented.

Next up, he says some of the money could be used to “reduce some of the collateral damage from excessive iPhone use by youngsters that comes with a sedentary life of obesity.” While Apple has already promised stronger parental controls to help overuse of its technology, Nader suggests the company “invest in needed neighborhood recreational facilities all over the country.”

Nader writes that Apple would also cut prices for consumers, alleging that its current profit margins used to be a signal of market collusion and antitrust:

Of course, you could always cut your prices for consumers. In the 1960s and ‘70s, such profit margins as Apple’s would have been an antitrust signal of possible monopolistic practices or market collusion.

Finally, Nader says the conventional uses of corporate cash would also be acceptable, such as increasing salaries and pensions, improving hiring, and more:

Then there are the conventional applications of a cash-rich company to consider: productive new investments, raising employee salaries and pensions, improving hiring practices, and workforce training and consumer services.

The important thing to note here is that Apple announced a $350 billion investment in the United States economy – so the $100 billion buyback program accounts for less than one-third of that. Thus, it’s possible that the company will use the remainder for things like Nader outlined.

Do you agree with Nader that the $100 billion that Apple will use for the buyback could have been better put elsewhere? Let us know down in the comments.

Writer, DJ and coffee lover currently living in Chicago. Interests include getting random tattoos, eating ice cream and getting what I want. I also have wayyyy too many pairs of sneakers.

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Amazon Now Taking Pre-Orders For Microsoft’s Surface Go Tablet

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A couple of weeks ago Microsoft launched their latest Surface tablet in the form of the Surface Go. Shortly after the launch Microsoft started taking pre-orders for the device via the official Microsoft Store, but in case you prefer doing your shopping on Amazon for whatever reason, Amazon has also started to accept pre-orders for the tablet as well.

In terms of pricing, there is no difference from the Amazon listing and the Microsoft listing. This means that the model with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage will retail for $399, while the 8GB RAM and 128GB memory option will retail for slightly more expensive at $549. Some might wonder why shop through Amazon when you can buy it from Microsoft directly, but there are some advantages depending on where you live.

For example some reports have pointed out that over in Spain, Amazon Spain is giving a 25% discount on the higher-end model where instead of it being priced at 599 EUR, it is now priced at 449 EUR, so for our readers in Spain, you will be able to take advantage of this discount. However the downside is that the tablet will only begin shipping to you on the 28th of August for those living in Europe, versus the US where it is set for a release on the 2nd of August which is this coming Thursday.

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Mowgli Movie Will Now Release On Netflix In 2019

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Mowgli is a live-action Jungle Book adaptation that director Andy Serkis has been working on. Netflix has now purchased the rights to this movie and it will, therefore, be released on the online streaming network. The release date has been moved to 2019 as a result of this development which will now see this movie being released on Netflix first. This movie is different from Disney’s live-action adaptation of the Rudyard Kipling classic which the studio released in 2016.

Rohan Chand stars in the lead role with Christian Bale playing Bagheera, Cate Blanchett playing Kaa, and Benedict Cumberbatch taking on the role of Shere Khan. Andy Serkis himself will be playing Baloo.

This movie was actually supported to be released in 2016 as well but it has been delayed multiple times since then. The first trailer was released recently which mentioned October 19th, 2018 as the theatrical release date.

That was before Netflix had decided to acquire the rights to Mowgli. EW reports that with this acquisition, the release has been delayed yet again. Netflix is going to premiere Mowgli on its platform at some point next year.

Serkis has said that the decision to move the film to Netflix will help avoid a direct comparison with the Disney movie. The platform will also enable the director to have more creative freedom and explore darker themes, going so far as to explore the violence between animals.

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New iPad Pro Lineup Might Ditch The Headphone Jack

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Ever since Apple ditched the standard 3.5mm headphone jack on recent iPhone models there has been speculation that the company will do this for its other mobile devices as well. A new report has surfaced which claims that the upcoming iPad Pro lineup is not only going to be slightly smaller than its predecessor but will also ditch the 3.5mm headphone jack.

The iPad Pro lineup due next year will reportedly see its dimensions being reduced a little for both the 10.5 inch and 12.9 inch models. The report also reiterates earlier rumors that the new iPad lineup is going to feature FaceID. A recent iOS 12 beta also revealed that there’s a big possibility that this biometric access control system might arrive with the next generation of Apple’s tablet.

The new iPad Pro models might be designed for vertical use as FaceID will reportedly not work when the tablet is in landscape mode. It may also adjust the positions of the Lightning connector and the smart connector for the keyboard for this purpose.

It is as yet unclear when Apple is going to unveil these new tablets. There have been a lot of reports and rumors about them in recent months and they will likely continue in the days to come.

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