Blog: February 28 2013 | 00:00 AM

Apple CEO says he feels shareholders' pain, urges long view

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The world's most valuable technology company headed into its annual shareholders' meeting at its headquarters on shakier ground than it has been accustomed to in years, since the iPhone and iPad helped vault the company to premier investment status.

A declining share price has lent weight to Wall Street's demand that it share more of its $137 billion in cash and securities pile - equivalent to Hungary's Gross Domestic Product, and growing - a debate now spearheaded by outspoken hedge fund manager David Einhorn.

Einhorn was not spotted at the meeting at the company's headquarters at 1 Infinite Loop in Cupertino. Cook repeated that the company's board remained in "very very active" discussions about options for cash sharing, and said he shared investors' dissatisfaction over the stock price.

"I don't like it either. The board doesn't like it. The management team doesn't like it," Cook told investors.

"What we are focused on is the long term. This has always been a secret of Apple."

By focusing on the long term, revenue and profit will follow, he said.

Apple had the "mother of all years" last year with growth, in terms of dollars, outpacing that of Microsoft Corp, Google Inc, Nokia and several other major technology companies combined, Cook said.

Cook -- who was re-elected to the board with 99.1 percent of shareholder votes -- added that the company was working on new product categories, but, as usual, would not elaborate.

Speculation is rife on Wall Street and in Silicon Valley that the iPhone maker is working on a project to revolutionize the television and TV content, or a smart "iWatch."

Apple's stock was down 0.25 percent to $447.86 in afternoon trade. It is now down more than 35 percent from its $702.10 September peak.

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