Apple had its annual shareholder meeting on lockdown today. If you wanted to be in the room, you couldn’t have a laptop or mobile phone. Fortunately, a wily rogue investors apparently smuggled in some devices and were sending updates, which Apple 2.0’s Philip Elmer-DeWitt kindly rebroadcasted for all to see. So what went down at the meeting, which Steve Jobs did not attend?
Here’s my attempt to try and make sense of the rather cryptic notes that came out of the meeting:
- In attendance were Apple board members, including Al Gore (the former Vice President of the United States), Andrea Jung (chief executive of Avon Products), and Arthur Levinson (chief executive of Genentech).
- The one board member not in attendance was Google chief executive Eric Schmidt.
- Also there was Apple’s executive team, including chief operating officer Tim Cook (currently running Apple in Jobs’ absence), senior VP of industrial design Jonathan Ive, senior VP of product marketing Phil Schiller (who did Apple’s most recent keynote at Macworld), chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer, and Apple’s senior VP of retail Ron Johnson.
- Cook noted early on that Jobs would not be in attendance due to his medical leave of absence (which shouldn’t have been a surprise, given that he said he’d be out until June).
- A few activists apparently gave Apple a hard time over the environmental friendly claim of its products and specifically called out Gore, who of course is very close to the subject. Apple’s most recent ad campaigns note how green its new line of products are.
- The first question about Jobs’ health was shot down.
- An AFLCIO (a union) member went on some kind of rant about universal health care and tried to tie it into Jobs’ recent health concerns before being cut off.
- Apple has increased its revenues four times over four years, from $8 billion to $32 billion, and income growth is even better.
- The share of both its Mac and iPod products is growing.
- Apple moved 13.7 million iPhones in 2008 and is now in 70 countries.
- In retail, Apple opened a store per week during 2008.
- Apple is the top notebook provider to educational institutions in the U.S.
- After a few more questions about Jobs’ health, including bringing up rule 10b-5 (basically, that it’s unlawful to deceive or manipulate investors), Levinson weighed in that Jobs was still involved in the company while he’s out, but added that succession plans have been regularly discussed.
- “If there’s new information that we deem is important to disclose, then that will happen,” Levinson said, according to Bloomberg.
- The room sang happy birthday to Jobs (he turned 54 yesterday).
- Apple’s entire board of directors (which includes Jobs) was re-elected by the shareholders. The shareholders voted down several shareholder-sponsored resolutions regarding executive pay, sustainability and healthcare reform.
- A person asked why there was no diversity on Apple’s executive team (it’s all white males), and Cook said that Apple takes diversity very seriously.
- A question about Apple leaving Macworld led Cook to note that while he has fond memories of Macworld, the company’s current investment in its retail stores blows anything it can do at Macworld out of the water. He also noted that the company is now free to call press conferences whenever it wants to launch new products.