Companies in transition: Apple, Cook and labor; Yahoo’s looming layoffs and proxy fight

What do Apple and Yahoo have in common? Changes. And at least as of now, shares in both companies are rising sharply.

• Apple shares continue to soar; they’re up more than 2.5 percent to nearly $615.40 as of this post. Recent news that might be considered huge setbacks for other companies so far seem to have made no difference in investor enthusiasm for AAPL.

Last week’s news about labor violations uncovered by an audit at its China supplier, Foxconn, was followed over the weekend by a mostly positive New York Times report on what some see as CEO Tim Cook‘s deft handling of the China problems, which has included more transparency from the company than there was when Steve Jobs was chief executive. Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou reportedly said Sunday that his company would continue to raise wages and cut back working hours. An adviser for advocacy group Human Rights First told the NYT that Apple has the “opportunity to become the new face of sustainable production in the electronics sector.”

If that happens — the skeptics among us might point out that there’s a long way to go — Cook could succeed in prolonging consumers’ “love affair” with Apple. (Then who would play him in a movie? Ashton Kutcher is reportedly going to play Jobs in a movie that is set to go into production soon; insert joke here.)

Meanwhile, Consumer Reports says the new iPad is hot, on Monday recommending the device as its top tablet pick despite reporting recently that the iPad can run 13 degrees hotter than the previous model. (See What’s hot, fast and hungry for bandwidth? On the iPad’s issues.)

• As for Yahoo, its shares are up 1.5 percent to about $15.45 as of this post. Might investors be optimistic about the big changes coming at the Sunnyvale company? There was a report Friday that the massive layoffs that had been rumored for some time are coming this week. And Monday, hedge fund Third Point unveiled Value Yahoo, a website that’s meant to tout “the benefits of a new path forward,” according to an email sent to GMSV. That path is coming in the form of a proxy fight: Third Point CEO Daniel Loeb and three others want to get on Yahoo’s board, saying they can do better after “years of failed leadership and poor governance,” according to the new website, which coincidentally has a familiar purple color scheme. (See Corporate raiders of the purple ark, the sequel: Will new search for answers at Yahoo yield different result?)


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  • David

    As for AAPL, what goes up must come down. Impossible you say? Maybe you’re another fan in denial of impending truth?

  • Yosemite Semite

    Ashton Kutcher as Steve Jobs: A reprise of “That 70s Show”?