Two high tech giants, Foxconn and Apple, are considering a deal to build a panel factory in the United States at a cost of about $7 billion and could create between 30,000 and 50,000 jobs. Chairman Terry Gou of Foxconn said that an investment by Foxconn’s Sharp division will depend on the terms negotiated for the deal at the state and federal levels.
The announcement of the deal comes close on the heels of President Donald Trump’s inaugural address in which the new president promised to make “America First” as the backbone of his policies leading the nation. Trump stated in his speech: “We will follow two simple rules: buy American and hire American.”
One of Trump’s campaign promises was to try and persuade Apple to bring the manufacture of iPhones to US shores. Trump said that he was optimistic that Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, had his “eyes open” to the possibility. Foxconn is the biggest producer of iPhones.
Gou said that Trump-style protectionism was inevitable, but he is unsure how Americans will feel about spending hundreds of dollars more for a phone that does not work any better than a less expensive model that was made overseas.
Gou vowed to increase his investments in China. Apple is also dependent on China, not just for production, but also for sales. Last year China made up 22 percent of Apple’s total revenue, some $46.4 billion.
Today Apple Inc is going to trial over accusations being made by state and federal authorities that they conspired with book publishers to increase the cost of eBooks to consumers.
The US Justice Department is taking the famously popular producer of iPads and iPhones to court in a case that observers say will scrutinize how Internet businesses interact with their suppliers of content.
“This case will effectively set the rules for Internet commerce,” said David Balto, a former policy director for the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.
The lawsuit was first filed against Apple along with five of the country’s six largest book publishers back in April, 2012. The suit alleges that they conspired to raise eBook prices in order to halt Amazon’s grip on book pricing.
Apple is on its own for the trial since all five publishers settled out of court by agreeing to halt their prohibitions on wholesale discounts in addition to paying together $164 million in damages for the benefit of consumers. The five publishers are: Pearson Plc’s Penguin Group, News Corp’s HarperCollins Publishers Inc, CBS Corp’s Simon & Schuster Inc, Hachette Book Group Inc and Macmillan.
The Justice Department is not pursuing monetary damages from Apple, but rather wants Apple to be forced to stop similar practices in the future. Apple is worried that if they are found guilty as charged they will then face separate trials by state attorneys general in which they will indeed by liable for monetary damages through class action lawsuits.
Apple’s chances of coming through the trial unscathed could be small, based on a comment made by the presiding judge at the last hearing before the trial.
“I believe that the government will be able to show at trial direct evidence that Apple knowingly participated in and facilitated a conspiracy to raise prices of e-books,” said U.S. District Judge Denise Cote on May 23. The judge will hear the case without a jury.
With the judge’s opinion before the trial apparently against Apple, why then isn’t the giant computer company settling out of court?
Chief Executive Tim Cook said in an interview with All Things Digital that Apple was “not going to sign something that says we did something we didn’t do.”
In an unprecedented move by any other company in history, Apple Inc will be distributing $100 billion in cash to its shareholders be the time the year 2015 comes to a close. This announcement comes at the same time as the news that Apple’s revenues during the present quarter could be less than last year for the same quarter, representing the first decline in several years.
CEO Tim Cook also hinted that Apple is not planning to release any new products this summer, which is contrary to rumors that consumers could expect new iPhones and iPads this coming summer.
The cash distribution will take the form of a $60 billion buy-back plan, the largest such program in history. In addition, Apple will be increasing the dividend on its stock from $2.65 to $3.05 per share, a 15 percent increase. That number translates to a dividend yield of 3 percent at today’s stock prices, which brings Apple more in line with other dividend-paying companies. The average yield for the top US dividend paying companies is 3.1 percent, says Standard & Poor’s.
Investors in Apple have been requesting that the incredibly successful high-tech company open up the company’s vaults and returning some of the cash on hand back to them. At the end of last month Apple’s collection of cash was announced to be an incredible $145 billion, an unprecedented amount. Shareholder’s inaccessibility to this cash cache, together with a dearth of new, innovative products, has been blamed for the huge loss in the value of Apple’s stock this past winter.
When the new iPhone 5 went on sale on September 21st, 2012, Apple’s stock reached a high point of $705.07. Even after a 5 percent rise to $425 per share after the company released its fiscal second quarter earnings Apple’s stock is now only valued at 40 percent of its peak price.
“The decline in Apple’s stock price over the last couple of quarters has been very frustrating for all of us … but we’ll continue to do what we do best,” CEO Tim Cook said.
“The most important objective for Apple will always be creating innovative products,” he added.
In an effort to protect its market share from such challengers as Amazon and Google, Apple Inc is releasing its own version of a smaller sized tablet device, the iPad Mini.
The iPad Mini is the rampart defending Apple’s control of the market on extra-portable personal computing devices just as Amazon’s Kindle and Google’s Nexus 7 are beginning to make inroads into that market.
The smaller device is considerably less expensive then Apple’s popular best-seller, the iPad 10-inch full-sized model, and is the first device added to Apple’s compact portfolio since the reins of leadership of Apple was handed over to Tim Cook, who took over from Steve Jobs just before his death.
"Apple sensed early that they had a real winner with the iPad and that has proven to be correct," said Lars Albright, co-founder of mobile advertising startup SessionM and a former Apple ad executive.
"They have a large market share, and to protect that market share they have got to be innovative," he added.
The Apple iPad Mini will be unveiled today, Tuesday, October 23, at a “by invitation only” event scheduled to begin at 10am in San Jose, California.
The much anticipated iPhone 5 made its appearance on Friday, exciting buyers and sellers as it was whisked off the shelves by the thousands.
The new Apple offering is not an astounding technological breakthrough, but just a bit better in many of the ways the customers already love their old iPhones: like a super-model, its thinner, taller and lighter, and that’s about it.
This is the first product launch since Tim Cook took over Steve Jobs’ position as head wizard at Apple, and it seems his skills might not quite be a clone of Jobs’ special magic, but Cook seems to have a bit of magic of his own up his sleeve.
“We are positively surprised regarding the pace of the rollout, since we had expected a bigger impact from component constraints,” Barclays analyst Ben Reitzes said.
And what at pace it’s been, and is going to be. On Friday the iPhone 5 went on sale simultaneously in New York, Japan and Hong Kong, and a few other hot spots. By next Friday expect to see this hot-selling phone in 31 countries, and by December 31st of this year, in more than 100. That exceeds by 30 the number of countries the iPhone 4s , the 5’s predecessor, was launched from during a similar time-frame.
“His skills fit the time period and the flow of product,” said Raymond Miles, professor emeritus at Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley. He added that Apple may be at a stage where it needs “someone with a production vision.”
Cook’s magic seems to be working: He was able to supersede Jobs’ sales record as preorders for the 5s climbed to 2 million within 24 hours, twice the speed with which the 4s was pre-sold. Analysts and observers/investors are anticipating a similar successful launch of the smaller iPad mini in October.