With Apple's stock being hammered daily and shareholders increasingly pointing at the company's huge war chest, CEO Tim Cook hinted on Wednesday he was "seriously considering" ways to return some of the company's cash hoard.
At a shareholder meeting in its Cupertino headquarters, Apple put forth a raft of relatively minor governance proposals. However, the iPhone maker sidestepped hints of a new strategy to parcel out more of its sizable money pile.
Cook renewed his criticism of shareholder activist's David Einhorn's lawsuit against the company as a "silly sideshow". The controversy has put added pressure on a stock that has fallen sharply in the last several months, shaving billions off Apple's market share, and making investors more nervous about its ability to keep up with fierce competition from competitors Google and Samsung.
Cook acknowledged as much on Wednesday, as he fielded questions from shareholders.
"I don't like it either," Cook said about the stock's tumble from an all-time high hit last fall. He added the company was focused on the long term, and that 2012 had been "an incredible year of innovation" at Apple.
Apple is currently sitting on more than $137 billion in net cash, with $23 billion of operating money collected in the last quarter alone. Einhorn — who a few weeks ago likened Apple's cash management to his frugal grandmother's — is vigorously pressing the iPhone maker to deploy some of that cash in the form of a special dividend or preferred stock.