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Apple investors vent misgivings

At Apple Computer's annual shareholders meeting yesterday in Cupertino, California, stockholders called for the ouster of the board and CEO Michael Spindler.

There was no stockholder revolt at yesterday's annual Apple Computer shareholders meeting, despite the company's plunging fortunes. "Some shareholders expressed dissatisfaction, calling for the board and [CEO Michael] Spindler's resignation, but that was after all the voting was over," commented Pieter Hartsook, an Apple analyst and editor of the The Hartsook Letter.

The meeting was surprisingly calm considering the turmoil that has surrounded the company lately, said Hartsook. Apple board members made no major announcements at the meeting and said nothing further about the company's restructuring plans. "They did make a statement that they weren't for sale, but they didn't say they couldn't be bought," said Hartsook.

According to sources, Sun Microsystems and Apple are already in talks that would merge the two companies. And that makes sense in light of the board's relative silence during the past few weeks, said Hartsook.

"The only excuse for such weak action from the board, aside from gross incompetence, is that they're working on something behind the scenes and they can't talk about it," added Hartsook.

Merging the two companies makes sense from a technology standpoint, he noted. "Management-wise, it's not such a great fit. Sun hasn't a clue about the retail market. My concern is, would [Sun CEO Scott] McNealy screw it up? He can't manage both Apple and Sun. He'd need to bring in someone else," Hartsook said.

On a positive note, Hartsook said that a purchase by Sun might precipitate changes for the better at Apple sooner than if the company continues to go it alone. "It could be good news, and it could potentially be a disaster," he noted.