One of the duties of a modern CEO is to offer as little detail as possible during investors' meetings, and Apple's headman Tim Cook has proved himself a Jedi master of snooze-inducing vapidity.
Speaking at Apple's annual investors meeting on Wednesday at the company's Cupertino headquarters, Cook piled bromide upon cliché upon chestnut as he deftly worked his way through his prepared remarks and follow-up questions.
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"The company is working as hard as ever, and we have some great stuff coming," he told his audience, reports ABC News. Now, had he said "We're treading water and nothing's in the pipeline," that would have deserved a Man Bites Dog headline.
No such luck.
About Apple's declining stock price? "I don't like it either. The board doesn't like it. The management team doesn't like it," Cook said.
The company doesn't like it that their stock price has fallen precipitously? Stop the effing presses...
About the legal challenge filed by disgruntled investor David Einhorn that Cook called "a silly sideshow" at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet conference earlier this month? At Wednesday's investors' meeting he called it ... wait for it ... "a silly sideshow."
We believe that he could have at minimum spiced up that word-for-word repetition with a sly reference to Sideshow Bob, but that type of thinking may be why Cook is a multimillionaire captain of industry, and your humble Reg reporter remains, well, humble.
About the $137.1bn cash pile upon which Apple is perched, and about which Cook has repeatedly commented during recent quarterly reports that he and the board of directors are actively discussing what to do? "We are in very, very active discussions on it," he told investors.
We hardened hacks, of course, are a jaded bunch, unconcerned with the delicate dance of corporate governance and the completely reasonable requirement for product-development secrecy. We'd prefer to uncover the next juicy story, and not merely pick through the warmed-over leavings of CYA elusiveness. Cook's job, on the other hand, is to squeeze every bit of juiciness out of his thoughts before they're beamed to his teleprompter.
We understand, and we forgive.
But Apple's carefully self-controlled CEO did throw the fourth estate a bone at Wednesday's investors' meeting. When asked by one shareholder why there was no bathroom in Apple's Santa Monica, California, retail store, NBC News reports, "Cook, acknowledging that it was an important point, said he will look into it."
Stop the aforementioned presses! New headline: "Apple CEO pleads guilty to inhumane conditions in retail empire." ®