Full disclosure: I own Apple Computer stock. I bought it waaaay too high. So I'm an idiot, and I'm mad. I admit it.

But . . . I'm also right about two things.

  • One, Apple Computer is the most shareholder unfriendly company in America.
  • Two, Apple's board of directors is a do-nothing group of overpaid hacks.

Here's why I'm right on both counts.

First, since its board named long-time understudy Cook to replace the late iconic Steve Jobs a year-and-a half ago, Apple's stock has declined 40%.

Now there is nothing unusual about bad companies with inferior products losing their stock value when investors get wise. It happens all the time. But . . Apple is not a "bad" company with "inferior" products; it is if not "the" best company in the world, inarguably one of the best with superior products?

So why then has its stock tanked? 

Three words: miserable shareholder relations.

  • While upstart competitors like Samsung initiate massive public relations campaigns to ballyhoo their achievements – from retail deals with Best Buy to design inspirations for the Galaxy S III phone – Apple remains silent.
  • When rabble-rousing hedge fund activist David Einhorn challenges Apple to do something – anything! – with its $137 billion cash hoard – he is dealt with dismissively by Cook.
  • When shareholders at the annual meeting grouse about the free-falling stock price, CEO Cook concedes "the widespread disappointment among shareholders" but then fails to provide any guidance on what, if anything, the company might do about it.

The clear conclusion from such ambivalence to its owners is that Apple simply doesn't care about shareholders. Period.

And the worst perpetrator of this shareholder disdain is Cook, himself.

By all accounts, Tim Cook is a nice man with a difficult job; taking over for a legend is never easy. Steve Jobs, for all his high-handedness and arrogance was, nonetheless, a marketing genius and brilliant CEO.

Tim Cook is neither.  

But rather than displaying the confidence and possessing the good sense to present himself as his "own man," Tim Cook has made the fatal mistake of acting like Steve Jobs reincarnate.

Cook appears in the same black t-shirts as Jobs, stays aloof from the media like Jobs, and says as little in public as did Jobs, except when he has no other choice.

But unlike when Jobs went public to announce some game-changing Apple success, Cook has gone public only to acknowledge embarrassing failures.

  • One occasion was late last year when the CEO publicly apologized for a monumentally-publicized screw up with the Apple Maps app, which ruined the debut of the highly-anticipated i Phone 5.
  • Another came last week, when after weeks of squabbling with the Chinese, Cook was forced to apologize for Apple's treatment of clients in its new most important market.

Both events underscored that in public relations terms, where Jobs was considered a "winner," his successor is considered a "loser." And in public relations, it is axiomatic that one never gets a second chance to make a first impression.

When analysts and investors begin to question why anyone would want to own Apple stock, it's clear that the CEO's losing image is slowly but surely poisoning the reputation of Apple, itself.

If Apple continues to drift aimlessly under its feckless CEO, the equally-feckless board will have no other choice but to fire Tim Cook.

For discouraged shareholders, it can't happen soon enough.