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Apple's shareholders skirmish over ideological differences

Apple on Friday held its annual shareholders meeting, where a proposal to mandate Apple execs detail their political leanings was profoundly defeated.

Apple at 2018 San Francisco Pride



One shareholder measure called for more "ideological diversity" on the board of directors, according to CNet's Ian Sherr. Apple is a famously liberal-leaning company, if mostly on social issues. The company was one of the first to extend equal benefits to same-sex couples, and in recent years has taken a vocal stance in support of LGBT rights. It has also been aggressive about environmental issues, for example investing cash in renewable energy, and in increasing the racial and gender diversity of its hires.

The combination has upset some people with conservative religious views, climate change deniers, and/or those who feel that Apple should sidestep politics and concentrate on profits.

One person at the meeting complained about Apple's $1 million donation to the Southern Poverty Law Center in the aftermath of violence at a Charlottesville white supremacist rally. The person referred to the SPLC as a hate group, presumably referring to the SPLC's own labeling of certain conservative organizations as hate groups for their stances on things like Islam or the gay community.

The "ideological diversity" measure was soundly defeated at today's meeting, however, garnering just 1.7 percent of the vote. Apple CEO Tim Cook later commented on the matter, saying that the world doesn't need to be so polarized and that his company doesn't "check people at the door" for their beliefs. It also doesn't donate to political campaigns or run a political action committee (PAC).

"For us, we focus on policy things," he said, adding that while Apple is "pro-environment, pro-immigration, capitalist, and strong believers in privacy," it doesn't consider those "political things."

On privacy Cook said that profiles of people are offensive to him and causing greater issues in society. "We think regulation is necessary," he remarked.

Responding to a tangential question, senior VP of Software Engineering Craig Federighi said that new functionality is coming to USB-C video output on the iPad Pro. No more details were made public.