Apple's CEO Tim Cook on Tuesday rebutted criticism that his company was too tight-fisted with the $137 billion in cash it has amassed over the years, saying the tech giant "does not have a Depression-era mentality" preventing it from returning money to shareholders.
Wading into a controversy that was bought to a head last week by fund manager David Einhorn, Cook touted his company's investment in product development and research. The CEO rejected the basis of a lawsuit filed by Einhorn that the fund manager asserts will restrict Apple's ability to distribute its excess cash to its investors.
"Frankly I find it bizarre that we would find ourselves being sued for doing something that's good for shareholders," Cook told the Goldman Sachs' Technology and Internet Conference. He branded Einhorn's lawsuit as a "a silly sideshow."
Countering Einhorn's pointed criticism that the company was behaving like his cash-hoarding grandmother who lived through the Depression, Cook said his company invested $10 billion in capital expenditures last year, and would do the same this year.
"We do have some cash, but it's a privilege to be in this position ...where we can seriously consider returning additional cash to our shareholders."
He nevertheless said that Apple would "thoroughly consider" Einhorn's proposal to return cash to shareholders.