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  • Apple's Quality Is A Competitive Advantage [View article]
    @davel,
    Apple has quite a bit of cash, to the extent management was being criticized for underutilizing it. (Though I defended Apple's cash accumulation here: http://seekingalpha.co... )

    The decision to borrow money (cheaply, I might add) wasn't done because Apple lacked cash, but because turning the cash into US dollars for dividends would result in the application of US taxes to non-US income, to the detriment of Apple and its shareholders. Apple's still amassing cash; look at the Asymco charts linked in my other recent Apple article:
    http://seekingalpha.co...

    Keeping foreign-held cash abroad is also useful for paying foreign production partners, buying foreign tech companies, etc. without subjecting the cash to unnecessary additional taxation. Borrowing cheap to repurchase shares that are worth more, or to issue dividends that would cost the company more if paid from foreign-held cash, isn't a crazy stunt. And Apple has more cash than about anyone; with a history of spending very little on acquisitions, what exactly is Apple going to do for shareholders with the cash? I think the repurchases are more attractive than the dividends, but the dividends may moderate share volatility by giving a near-term yield. I'm ambivalent about dividends. I'm very confident in my view against voluntarily spending more to pay the same dividends by using foreign-held cash so the company pays otherwise-inapplicable US taxes.
    Sep 15 11:40 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Berkshire: Still Beating The S&P [View article]
    Even non-owners can read Buffett's Letter to Shareholders from any year they like. It's worth doing whether one holds shares or not. It's in the annual report each year. The company puts those all here:
    http://bit.ly/srpdAO
    Sep 15 11:21 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple's Quality Is A Competitive Advantage [View article]
    HomeKit hardware:

    Apple need not make HomeKit hardware, it need only provide a software framework with which home security and home automation products can communicate for central control. Apple can leave the security and automation to those whose expertise it is, but provide an interface to enable oversight to be easily accomplished using a robust tool kit available on any Apple platform.

    Perhaps an always-on desktop (Time Capsule? AppleTV?) would act as the server, with various iDevices that had only transient availability accessing the "server" on demand for status or to change settings (or pre-planned setting changes).
    Sep 14 05:18 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple's Quality Is A Competitive Advantage [View article]
    Whether Apple returns cash to shareholders by issuing dividends or by repurchasing shares has nothing to do with its relationship with customers, but its relationship with shareholders. Neither helps some faceless "street" but specifically affects shareholders.

    Recruiting for the Board people with expertise brokering deals in big enterprise is a plus. Remember when Apple needed retail expertise and recruited a retail expert to the Board? Worked out pretty well. Apple is apparently going to create a global payments intermediary and needs expertise in international financial relationships – especially with card issuers such as major banks.

    Hope the perspective helps.
    Sep 14 05:11 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Berkshire: Still Beating The S&P [View article]
    CapVandal,
    I don't think we disagree at all. I did want to address the points you raised; there's nothing magic about the S&P, after all, it's simply a well-known index frequently accepted as a proxy for the broader market.

    Thanks for coming by and for taking the time to comment.
    Sep 12 09:55 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple's Quality Is A Competitive Advantage [View article]
    Thank you so much.
    Sep 11 02:36 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple's Quality Is A Competitive Advantage [View article]
    Apple announces HomeKit, and Samsung buys a home automation company. Nobody wants to be left behind, but I wonder if anyone outside Apple has the map.
    Sep 11 02:35 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple's Quality Is A Competitive Advantage [View article]
    It's great if you can pull it off. Timing has just not been an area of expertise for me. I have, however, made some long/short money and options money (mostly decaying time premium in puts). Timing equity buys just isn't my bag.

    But congrats!
    Sep 11 02:33 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple's Quality Is A Competitive Advantage [View article]
    Quality continues – look what watch folks say about Apple's build quality and its attention to detail in wristbands:
    http://bit.ly/1umGVHK
    Sep 11 02:31 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Scale Is Opportunity At Apple [View article]
    Thanks for the kind words, and for reading.
    Sep 11 02:24 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Scale Is Opportunity At Apple [View article]
    Thanks for stopping by, for reading, and for the kind words.
    If you like my non-financial writing I have a fiction blog at http://bit.ly/1lYnSCH and am working on some pieces for publication. If you follow the blogs you'll see anything I do.

    Apple is well-known for its news-related volatility, so I hope news-era purchases don't cause short-term ulcers. But I think the big news in the event was definitely the payments business. Incidentally, Apple's fit-and-finish in its watch has impressed even real watch lovers:
    http://bit.ly/1umGVHK
    The interesting question is what the market for a $350 not-exactly-a-watch will turn out to look like. To be a success it's going to have to prove to be outrageously useful. My question is, how useful will it turn out to be? People thought iPod was too expensive to be a seller, but its size made it a killer music player. Will Apple's watch turn out to have a similar or better size/utility ratio?

    It's an adventure.
    Sep 11 02:23 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Berkshire: Still Beating The S&P [View article]
    Until ISCAR I think BRK was all-US.
    Buffett had a great explanation of the dividend/no-dividend calculus in a Letter to Shareholders a year or two ago. I'm with you: while BRK can do what it's doing, we're better without the dividend.
    Sep 10 11:16 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Berkshire: Still Beating The S&P [View article]
    @Gambit –
    The charts are all generated by YCharts based on data collected by it from public sources. I don't supply or edit them. If they've got an error, I'd be happy to work with you on getting it corrected.

    Thanks for stopping by and thanks for the comments.
    Sep 10 11:13 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Berkshire: Still Beating The S&P [View article]
    The transition to mostly control investments is good to the extent Berkshire doesn't overpay, else BV is clouded with overpriced goodwill. Looking at the performance of the units Berkshire has bought does, however, provide reassurance in this regard.

    Thanks for stopping by, and for the comments.
    Sep 10 04:52 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Berkshire: Still Beating The S&P [View article]
    @FunnyBunny,
    While the phrase "too big to fail" may have acquired some negative connotation and an ironic bent (they mostly failed in the crash), Berkshire's conservative approach to uncertainty makes it a safe stock to own if you don't plan watching your portfolio like a hawk.

    And if you _do_ watch it like a hawk, the return's not bad either.

    Thanks for stopping by :-)
    Sep 10 03:01 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
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