Does Apple consider Facebook a friend or foe?

February 24, 2012

So, how does Apple really feel about Facebook? The iPad maker’s CEO Tim Cook answered that question at the company’s shareholders meeting Thursday. The Verge reports:

In response to a question from an audience member about whether Apple considered the web company a "friend" or "foe" at Apple's shareholder meeting Thursday, CEO Tim Cook explained that the two companies are aligned, with little overlap in their respective businesses, saying:

"We do a lot with them, and our users are using Facebook a tremendous amount. It’s not like some other companies [where] we see a significant overlap in the things we do, I have always thought that the two can do more together."

It looks like Facebook feels much the same, saying in a statement, "iOS is an important platform for Facebook and we have a good relationship with Apple." Whatever hard feelings there might have been about the failed iTunes/Facebook integration deal must be water under the bridge.

Shareholders also wanted to know if Apple was going to distribute dividends. VentureBeat.com reports:

Apple reported a $13.06 billion profit in the first quarter of 2012, and the company is sitting on $90 million in cash. Chief executive Tim Cook explained the cash flow as “more than we need to run a company.” He also assured shareholders that the company is heavily considering how best to spend the money, though it doesn’t look like a dividend is coming any time soon.

One shareholder expressed the opinion that Apple shouldn’t administer a dividend, but rather reinvest the money in media acquisitions. Acquisitions are another way the company could use its money to create a better product and lift its stock prices, though it doesn’t provide an immediate payout to stock owners.

Another shareholder brought up the company’s deeper ties with Twitter, particular now that iOS 5 provides options to tweet right in the operating system’s user experience. Cook said that while the integration has been “great for Twitter,” it has also been “great for our users.” But where does that leave the other giant, social elephant in the room Facebook? Cook calls the social network a “friend.”

“We do a lot with them, our users use Facebook an enormous amount,” said Cook at the shareholders meeting, “I’ve always thought that the two companies could do more together.”

In other Apple news, Proview is suing the company in U.S. court over the iPad trademark. The Post’s Hayley Tsukayama reports:

Proview, the Chinese electronics maker that is suing Apple over the trademark to the iPad, has apparently taken its legal battle to U.S. court. A report from the Wall Street Journal found a previously unknown lawsuit between Apple and Proview filed in California’s Santa Clara Superior Court on Feb. 17.

Apple purchased the trademark through a subsidiary called IP Application Development. According to the Journal report, Proview is accusing Apple of fraud, saying that the representatives it negotiated with claimed that they wanted the “IPAD” trademark because it was an abbreviation of the company name.

Apple and Proview could not immediately be reached for comment.

On Thursday, a Shanghai court suspended its decision in a dispute between the two companies, saying it will wait for a higher court to rule on the case. Lower courts have sided with Proview in the past, and the Guangdong High Court will begin its hearing on the matter Feb. 29. The suspension means that Apple can continue selling the iPad in area stores.

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