Here are your Apple rumors and AAPL news items for today:
Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner: Next month, Apple (AAPL) CEO Tim Cook will sit down with an activist investor to discuss the company’s plans to return more capital to investors, AppleInsider notes. Billionaire Carl Icahn announced via Twitter that he will have dinner with Cook in September to review Apple’s plans for a $60 billion share buyback. Icahn, who recently disclosed the acquisition of a “large position” in Apple — a stake estimated to be worth about $1.5 billion — has called for the iPad-maker to increase its share repurchase commitment. Earlier this month, he said he spoke with Cook about the issue by telephone. The activist investor says Apple’s shares are undervalued and that the company could send its shares substantially higher if it increases sales and buys back more stock. Icahn recently challenged Michael Dell’s bid to take computer-maker Dell (DELL) private. Apple shares hit a high just over $700 a share last year, but then slumped more than 35% before rebounding somewhat over the past several weeks.
Another Buy: Apple has purchased another asset to bolster its Maps app, TechCrunch notes. The iPhone-maker has acquired Embark, which makes mobile apps that allow users to easily navigate mass transit systems in major metropolitan areas. The latest app buy follows Apple’s earlier purchase of rival transit system mapping app, HopStop, which also offered directions for walkers, bicycle riders and users traveling by taxi cab. The moves are seen as an effort by Apple to add features and data to its Maps app, which debuted last year, but was heavily criticized for errors and glitches.
Flexibility: Federal regulators will insist on oversight of Apple’s e-book operations, but may moderate other demands, CNET notes. Last month, a federal judge handed a major victory to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), finding that Apple had violated antitrust laws in negotiating e-book deals with five publishers. Apple and the publishers had been accused of conspiring to fix prices for e-books sold through the iBookstore. The publishers settled with the government before the trial. The government has submitted a set of proposed remedies to the court, which has scheduled a trial next year to determine damages to be assessed against Apple. The DOJ now says it could reduce the timetable for its monitoring of the company from ten to five years, with the option to add one-year extensions. It has also withdrawn language from its initial proposal that Apple claimed would infringe on App Store operations. However, the government says it will not withdraw is demand for an external monitor of Apple’s e-book operation, arguing that such the company needs to be watched by “someone not entrenched in Apple’s culture of insensitivity to basic tenets of antitrust law.”
For more about the company, check out our previous Apple Rumors stories.