Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer joins Goldman Sachs Board of Directors

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Apple Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer has joined the Board of Directors of investment banking firm Goldman Sachs. Oppenheimer is an independent director for the company, and this has no effect on his current leadership position at Apple (update he just retired, oh well).

“Peter’s 25 years of broad experience across important industries will add a valuable perspective to our Board of Directors,” said Lloyd C. Blankfein, Chairman and CEO.  “We appreciate his willingness to serve as a director and look forward to benefitting from his judgment and counsel.”

As an experienced CFO, Oppenheimer’s financial aptitude will likely be beneficial for the investment behemoth. “Oppenheimer will be a member of each of the firm’s Audit, Risk, Compensation and Corporate Governance, Nominating and Public Responsibilities committees,” according to Goldman Sachs…

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Carl Icahn announces third $500 million AAPL purchase this month after earnings report

As Apple opened down nearly 8% following yesterday’s earnings report from the previous quarter, activist investor Carl Icahn announced this morning his third $500 million purchase of Apple stock since the start of the month. Icahn has notably made a lot of noise being vocal toward Apple’s Board of Directors urging a larger buyback program for shareholders, something Apple’s Board has taken a position against, and today’s investment pegs Icahn’s ownership somewhere around $4.1 billion. Icahn’s recent purchases come ahead of Apple’s scheduled shareholder meeting on February 28, 2014. Read more

Carl Icahn adds another $500 million into $AAPL, total now at $3.6 billion and closing in on 1% ownership

Just yesterday, activist investor Carl Icahn revealed that he has invested another $500 million into AAPL stock. Just around 24 hours later, Icahn has posted on Twitter that he invested another $500 million. That brings his total investment into Apple stock to $3.6 billion. This means that he is closing in at 1% ownership of Apple’s stock…

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Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer calls it quits, will leave within 12 months or when a successor is found

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Screen Shot 2013-08-23 at 3.16.19 PMMicrosoft’s stock is surging, up 8% in pre-market on the news that Steve Ballmer will be vacating the CEO role within the next year.:

REDMOND, Wash. — Aug. 23, 2013 — Microsoft Corp. today announced that Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer has decided to retire as CEO within the next 12 months, upon the completion of a process to choose his successor. In the meantime, Ballmer will continue as CEO and will lead Microsoft through the next steps of its transformation to a devices and services company that empowers people for the activities they value most.

“There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time,” Ballmer said. “We have embarked on a new strategy with a new organization and we have an amazing Senior Leadership Team. My original thoughts on timing would have had my retirement happen in the middle of our company’s transformation to a devices and services company. We need a CEO who will be here longer term for this new direction.”

The Board of Directors has appointed a special committee to direct the process. This committee is chaired by John Thompson, the board’s lead independent director, and includes Chairman of the Board Bill Gates, Chairman of the Audit Committee Chuck Noski and Chairman of the Compensation Committee Steve Luczo. The special committee is working with Heidrick & Struggles International Inc., a leading executive recruiting firm, and will consider both external and internal candidates.

“The board is committed to the effective transformation of Microsoft to a successful devices and services company,” Thompson said. “As this work continues, we are focused on selecting a new CEO to work with the company’s senior leadership team to chart the company’s course and execute on it in a highly competitive industry.”

“As a member of the succession planning committee, I’ll work closely with the other members of the board to identify a great new CEO,” said Gates. “We’re fortunate to have Steve in his role until the new CEO assumes these duties.”

Microsoft’s stock has been flat since Ballmer took over the CEO roll from Bill Gates at the turn of the century. Ballmer has faced increasing criticism lately over the failure of the Surface RT and Windows Phones in a market dominated by Apple’s iOS devices and Android/Google devices. Perhaps his biggest gaffe was laughing off the importance of the iPhone (below).

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Marvel Comics comes to iBooks: ‘New Avengers Vol. 1: Breakout’ is free for a limited time

Marvel announced today that comic fans around the globe could now launch the iBooks app and buy its classic graphic novels.

The publisher said it “entered a bold new era in digital comics” with the release of iconic Marvel stories and characters on the free iOS e-book application:

“With an iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch, Marvel fans across the world can now purchase over 80 graphic novels with fan-favorite characters like Thor, Captain America, Iron Man, Hulk, Wolverine, Spider-Man and more by launching the iBooks app,” wrote the company on the Marvel Comic News website.

Fanatics can visit the Marvel Graphic Novels section on the iTunes Store to start downloading the graphic novels today. Prices currently range from free to $24.99.

The publisher promises to add more titles to the choice each week for a “truly digital comic book reading experience that customers will never forget.”

Moreover, “New Avengers Vol. 1: Breakout” is available free of charge for a limited time. As of press time, the e-book had a 4.5-star rating. There are also literary-adapted graphic novels available for children (“Wonderful Wizard of Oz“) and adults (“Pride & Prejudice“) alike, including a pre-order option for “Marvels.

It is worth noting that the Walt Disney Company bought Marvel Entertainment in 2009 for over $4 billion. Apple’s late cofounder and CEO Steve Jobs was a Disney shareholder and served on its board of directors until August 2011.

A complete list of Marvel’s iBooks offerings is available below.

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Two days after Steve Jobs resigns as CEO, AAPL passes XOM again to become most valuable company

Perhaps you can add “succession planning” to the list of areas where Steve Jobs has revolutionized the industry.

My theory is that Jobs’ resignation has been baked into the AAPL stock price all of this time (how couldn’t it be?) and the smooth transition and long term planning being revealed is being applauded by investors.

At the time of this writing, AAPL is at 352.63B while XOM is at 351.04B.
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