What's Up With Apple: Spending 'Chump Change' on Content, Firing a Critic and More

Shares of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) closed lower on Thursday, in line with the major indexes, all of which closed lower as well. It has been a rough (but short) week for equities, and Apple has done worse than the indexes. Maybe that’s because Apple is not winning the streaming war, despite the “California Streaming” new product launch coming next Tuesday.

Bank of America analyst Nat Schindler unloaded on Apple Thursday in an interview with Yahoo Finance Live. He said he wasn’t impressed with the company’s content efforts, claiming Apple had “created a couple quality shows and a lot of less than interesting shows.” He added:

They obviously have a lot of money, so they could really invest a lot. But they haven’t to date. Their initial investment of about $1 billion in content is chump change. Netflix does that in much less than a month at this point.

Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX) is spending about $17 billion on content this year, compared to Apple’s spend of an estimated $6 billion. Schindler has a Buy rating on Netflix with a price target of $680. Netflix shares closed at $597.54 on Thursday, and the stock’s 52-week high is $615.60. Schindler appears to be a genuine Netflix bull.

Ashley Gjøvik, a senior engineering program manager at Apple, has been fired. She had been on paid administrative leave since last month after filing complaints alleging sexism, a hostile work environment, sexual harassment, unsafe working conditions and retaliation at the company. Last Friday, the Financial Times reported that the U.S. National Labor Relations Board had begun an inquiry into Gjøvik’s allegations.

According to The Verge, following an email exchange with a member of Apple’s employee relations staff, Gjøvik was notified that she was being terminated effective Friday.

Apple’s dispute with Fortnite developer Epic Games is getting nastier. Epic said in a tweet Thursday that it had asked Apple to restore Fortnite to the App Store in South Korea. In late August, the country’s government passed a law prohibiting app stores (e.g., Apple’s and Google’s) from requiring app developers to use the stores’ own payment programs.

In a statement to The Verge, Apple declared it was unmoved:

As we’ve said all along, we would welcome Epic’s return to the App Store if they agree to play by the same rules as everyone else. Epic has admitted to breach of contract and as of now, there’s no legitimate basis for the reinstatement of their developer account.

Bloomberg reported Thursday that Apple has appointed Kevin Lynch, vice president of technology, to replace Doug Field, who oversaw Apple’s car project and left the company earlier this week to go to work for Ford. Lynch has run the software engineering group for Apple Watch and will now add the car project to his job description.

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