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Economist

Apple: Tim Cook?s cash card

April 25, 2013

THERE was no timetable for an iWatch or for an iTV. There was, however, the promise of perhaps the biggest share buyback in American corporate history. Announcing Apple?s results for the first three months of 2013 on April 23rd, Tim Cook, its boss, stayed mum about its product pipeline, saying only that the firm was working on some ?amazing new hardware, software and services? to be rolled out later this year and in 2014. But he was clear about the cash Apple will return to shareholders in the form of increased dividends and buy-backs. Altogether, it plans to fork out $100 billion by the end of 2015.That seems to have placated investors, who have watched in dismay as Apple?s share price has plunged from a high of over $700 in September to under $400 last week. On April 24th the firm?s shares closed at $405.Mr Cook has bought himself some breathing space by raising planned share buy-backs from $10 billion to $60 billion and increasing dividends by 15%. However, he still needs to produce new blockbuster offerings to bolster future growth. Ever since he replaced Steve Jobs at Apple?s helm, speculation has mounted that the company has lost some of the magic that produced the iPhone and iPad.Mr Cook?s fans protest that those who think Apple should already have come up with a new category-killer are being unrealistic. A few years between big ideas is nothing to worry about. And...

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