Apple shares fell by as much as 12 percent on Thursday, staging their biggest percentage drop in over four years and slicing more than $50 billion from the company's market value, as many investors seemed unable to digest the technology company's disappointing earnings results.
To Jim Cramer, Apple management better see this as a wakeup call. After all, Apple is the world's biggest publicly traded company, but Cramer thinks the corporate governance isn't acting like it.
"Apple's management needs to realize what everyone else has: that it's a regular public company like any other, especially since the death of its founder, Steve Jobs," Cramer said. "And until it either stops being public or trades through its cash, management is going to have do a much better job of explaining itself."
Apple currently has about $137 billion in cash on hand and Cramer thinks it's outrageous the company has no plans to put that money to work. He suggested Apple's management start an aggressive stock buyback program or offer a massive dividend boost. If management fails to tack such actions, though, Cramer fears things won't be looking up for shareholders.
(Read More: Douglas Kass on Apple: 'The King Is Dead')
"Without a massive dividend boost, a monster buyback … to reanimate the stock, Apple is caught in the brutal process of going from a growth stock to a value stock," Cramer said. "That means it has to overshoot to the downside to get to the point where it can bottom.
And remember, once you become a value stock, you can't rocket higher anymore simply because of animal spirits."
If Apple's corporate leaders don't act soon, Cramer thinks shareholders will likely suffer more pain.
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—Reuters contributed to this report
When this story was published, Cramer's charitable trust owned Apple.