What's Up With Apple: Spotify Rules, Shareholder Proposals and More

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has posted a list of U.S.-traded companies seeking to deny votes on proposals submitted by shareholders for action at the companies’ next annual shareholders’ meeting. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) is asking the SEC to reject six such proposals.

Among the six proposals is one that calls for Apple to be more transparent about the use of forced labor in manufacturing its products. Another wants Apple to be more forthcoming about how it decides to delete an app from the App Store. According to a report in the Financial Times, this is the highest number of proposals filed with the SEC since 2017.

The SEC has the authority to require Apple to include the shareholder proposals with its proxy materials for the company’s 2022 annual meeting. On these issues, Apple is arguing that it has already met or substantially met the demands sought by the shareholder proposals.

When streaming music and podcast service Spotify reported quarterly results earlier this week, the company claimed that it had “recently become” the top destination for U.S. podcast listeners. Although Spotify’s rise to number one was predicted back in March, this is the first time that Spotify itself has made the claim.

Last month, eMarketer forecast that Spotify would reach 28.2 million monthly U.S. podcast listeners by the end of this year.

Spotify does not identify podcast listeners separately, but the company did say that monthly active users in the third quarter rose by 19% to 381 million and that the number of premium subscribers rose by 19% to 172 million. eMarketer has forecast that Spotify will accumulate 43.6 million podcast listeners by 2025.

Briefly noted:

Apple has begun sending out a first beta version of the iOS 15.2 upgrade to developers. The new version contains a promised App Privacy Report, among other things.

A group of Chinese university students wants Apple to resume including iPhone power adapters with its new devices, and they’ve filed a lawsuit to make that happen. Apple stopped sending out the phone chargers with the iPhone 12 last year, claiming that doing so was the right thing to do environmentally. The government of Brazil fined Apple $1.9 million, not enough to force Apple to include the chargers with the iPhone 13.

The Financial Times has an interesting story on what the iPhone 13 Pro says about Apple’s strategy going forward. Apple’s margins on the iPhone 13 are lower than on the iPhone 6 and repair costs have soared.