Carl Icahn pushes Tim Cook for $150 billion Apple share buyback

Today in Apple: Carl Icahn wants Apple to spend more on share buybacks. Plus: Will Icahn attack Apple? And iOS device back pain problems

Carl Icahn's Dinner with Tim Cook

At a recent dinner with Apple CEO Tim Cook, investing activist Carl Icahn pushed hard for Apple to do a $150 billion share buyback.

Activist investor Carl Icahn told Apple CEO Tim Cook at a Monday night dinner that he wants Apple to issue a $150 billion buyback of its stock, in a bid to get Apple to return more money to shareholders.

Icahn tweeted on Tuesday: "Had a cordial dinner with Tim last night. We pushed hard for a 150 billion buyback. We decided to continue dialogue in about three weeks."

More at CNN

Wow. I thought Apple's $60 billion dollar buyback was huge. But $150 billion? My goodness, that's quite a lot of cash! You have to admire (or loathe?) Icahn's temerity given that he only owns about 2% of Apple's shares.

I wonder what the other 98% of Apple's shareholders think of his idea? Maybe Tim Cook should ask them.

Will Carl Icahn Attack Apple?

Speaking of Carl Icahn, MarketWatch is wondering if he might flip at some point from being Tim Cook's dinner partner to being his worst nightmare.

But Icahn, as investors know, can go from an annoying puppy, constantly gnawing at your favorite pair of shoes, to ferocious bulldog, with lawyers and investor partners in tow. Some of his battles in the tech industry include Yahoo Inc., where he won three seats on the board, and Motorola, where he ostensibly forced out one CEO and indirectly pushed the company into the arms of Google Inc.

Most recently, he went after Dell Inc. and opposed Michael Dell’s move to take the company he founded in his college dorm room private. While Icahn was not able to completely thwart Dell’s move to go private, he exerted enough pressure with his own alleged offer for the company that Michael Dell and his LBO partner Silver Lake upped their offer for the company.

It would be fun to be a fly on the wall at any meeting between Cook and Icahn. We can imagine Cook being at his most charming, and Icahn perhaps mixed his gruff New York straight-to-the-point demeanor with humor. Cook is likely hoping to keep Icahn at bay without making any distinct promises. But with Apple’s shares still below $500 and well off their $700 peak, it’s unlikely Icahn will be going away soon.

More at MarketWatch

I think we're still at the early stages of Icahn's relationship with Apple. I have to wonder if he really understands the company's value and history. Apple is not in the habit of letting investors, no matter how famous they are, call the shots with the company's money.

Still, it will be entertaining to see how all of this plays out. Icahn owns very little of Apple, so it's not like he has some sort of huge leverage he can use to get what he wants beyond getting some headlines in the media.

My guess is that Tim Cook will politely listen, and then ultimately ignore Icahn. If Icahn wants to go nuclear and drag Apple into court then all that money Apple has can pay for lots of very experienced and savvy lawyers. Icahn might rue the day he decides to attack Apple. The company is a legal and financial behemoth.

iOS Devices Causing Back Pain?

I guess we can add possible back pains to the iOS 7 motion sickness some people are reporting. The Mail Online has a story about iOS device users hunching over their gadgets and getting back problems as a result.

It sounds like the latest gadget from Apple. But ‘iPosture’ is being blamed for an alarming level of back pain among 18 to 24-year-olds.

The term is being used to describe the stooped body shape adopted by those texting, emailing or playing games on their iPad or smartphone.

Some 84 per cent of those aged 18 to 24 admitted to having suffered back pain in the past year, in a survey by the healthcare provider Simplyhealth.

More at Mail Online

One way of fixing this might be to stand (or even sit up straight). I've used my iPad or iPhone while standing and pacing at home. It's better for your legs since you aren't sitting down (that's not good for your blood circulation). Or perhaps just limiting the amount of time spent on phones and tablets might also be a good option.

What's your take on this? Tell me in the comments below.

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