back to article Apple to settle class action for $490 million after Tim overcooked China outlook

Apple will cough up $490 million to settle a class-action lawsuit alleging CEO Tim Cook concealed plummeting iPhone demand in China from shareholders. A court document filed last Friday details a settlement [PDF] pending approval before a Northern District of California judge. The incident dates back to late 2018 when, during …

  1. Phones Sheridan Silver badge

    So was the phrase "We grew 16 percent" factually incorrect?

    It's not often I side with Apple but this does seem to be nit picking over words. Expensive words.

    1. PhilipN Silver badge

      Harsh judgment

      Slight ambiguity in Cook’s words since it was not 100% clear his reference to double-digit growth referred specifically to past performance, although that followed from what he had already said.

      To say he meant future growth is a tortured interpretation which investors happily allowed themselves to go along with.

      But this is why lawyers draft listing documents with pages and pages of “risk factors’ which basically say “If you buy these shares you are mad.’

    2. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

      I believe this primarily impacted investors who were interested in the China outlook, and made their investment decisions accordingly.

    3. lglethal Silver badge

      The article does state that the action refers solely to the groups who bought shares in Apple in the two months after that statement.

      So basically it applies to people who took Cook at his word (what other choice did they have) that all was rosy in the Walled Garden in regards to China. If just 4 days later, they cut production, then it seems pretty clear they knew that things behind the Great Wall were not so good. So yep Cook was blatantly bullsh&tting, and he's been called out on it.

      1. Robin


      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        But remember that it won't be Tim Cook paying out this money. The money will come shareholders' funds. Shareholders who didn't, themselves, make any such statements. So it's this particular batch of shareholders suing their fellows - including themselves if they're still holding the shares. Perhaps the current shareholders should sue those who just won on the basis that it wasn't they who made the statements. Perhaps, alternatively, shareholders' suing of shareholders should be made illegal.

        There is one group, however, who show an unequivocal gain out of this. The Lawyers of both sides.

        1. lglethal Silver badge

          There's definitely something to what you say, but since it seems to be all but impossible to actually hold individual CEO's to account, what else can you do?

          What I would hope is that the remaining shareholders of Apple hold Cook to account by voting to reduce his salary for costing them money with his lying statement. But that's probably not going to happen...

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            "since it seems to be all but impossible to actually hold individual CEO's to account, what else can you do?"

            Make it possible to hold them to account. In fact I seem to recall a case reported here a while ago in which the management and/or directors were sued.

            My guess is that in this case the plaintiffs decided there was more money to be obtained from their fellow shareholders than from Cook. If it hadn't been possible for them to sue the other shareholders then they would have turned on him instead. A bit of personal risk rather than hiding behind their employers would make CEOs, CFOs, etc a bit more careful of what they say. Perhaps in future he should be under the same sorts of constraints applied to Musk.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          This whole thing must have been terribly distressing for Tim, hopefully the board can slip him an extra 150 mill to ease the mental anguish and suffering.

  2. Dan 55 Silver badge

    "the UK's Norfolk Pension Fund"

    Could that section of the commentariat which believes that justice stops at national boundaries please take a few moments to reflect.

    1. Missing Semicolon Silver badge

      Re: "the UK's Norfolk Pension Fund"

      American company, sued in an American court, for actions in America. The fact that the shareholder is domiciled overseas has no bearing on the matter. If it were otherwise, international investment would cease.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: "the UK's Norfolk Pension Fund"

        How else would you expect it to be done? The same kind of thing is done by the EU's representation in the US over GDPR.

        There are those who would argue that this couldn't have been done by a UK pension fund, as if they thought the Dukes of Hazzard escaping by crossing the county line was legally correct advice instead of a plot device.

  3. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Sour Grapes are a Gripe when Local Apples are Treated Better than Imported Oranges

    Is Mike Lynch facing 20 years in jail for something similar regarding Hewlett Packard’s expectations of Autonomy following a devastating change in market engagement?

    1. Andy The Hat Silver badge

      Re: Sour Grapes are a Gripe when Local Apples are Treated Better than Imported Oranges

      There was far more than a passing comment concerning Autonomy's accounts (allegedly).

      The world of stock markets is based on statistics, opinions and whispers and, occasionally, facts. That's why there are laws concerning financial declarations that obfuscate the facts.

    2. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

      Re: Sour Grapes are a Gripe when Local Apples are Treated Better than Imported Oranges

      Grapes? Apples? Oranges? Is that comparison about Mike Lynch being a Limey?

      1. aerogems Silver badge

        Re: Sour Grapes are a Gripe when Local Apples are Treated Better than Imported Oranges

        Oh go suck on a lemon!

    3. aerogems Silver badge

      Re: Sour Grapes are a Gripe when Local Apples are Treated Better than Imported Oranges

      Someone clearly didn't actually read the article they linked to, or any of the associated ones for that matter. HP is trying to lynch Lynch because they allege he was cooking the books to make the company seem a lot more successful than it actually was. He claims it's just HP's American beancounters not accounting for differences between US and UK beancounting practices, but so far no one seems to really be buying that version of events.

  4. ComputerSays_noAbsolutelyNo Silver badge
    Big Brother

    This is the only truth you will get

    Statements, that CEOs can be dragged to court and make them pony up money.

    For all other statements of corporations, you have no guarantee of validity. None.

  5. Mark Exclamation

    "....but in recognition that further litigation will be protracted, overly burdensome, expensive, and distracting, have determined that it is desirable and beneficial for them to resolve the Action" - That's a first for Apple!

  6. GeorgeWhyte


    Apple probably needs to restrict calls to lawyers on their iPhone. Or just make a jingle when people try to call. On the other end instead of scam likely showing up you'll see Ruthless Anti Apple Lawyer "likely". :).

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