Friday, March 1, 2024

US Court Dismisses Lawsuit Claiming Top Apple Execs Received Excessive Payments

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A US federal judge has thrown out a lawsuit against Apple, alleging excessive payments to top executives, including CEO Tim Cook, due to miscalculations in performance-based stock awards. As reported by Reuters, the dismissal came from US District Judge Jennifer Rochon in Manhattan, who noted Apple’s compliance with disclosure requirements regarding executive compensation. Additionally, Rochon found no evidence of misconduct by Apple’s board and criticised the plaintiff, an affiliated pension fund, for insufficiently engaging with the board before filing suit.

The plaintiff claimed that Apple overpaid executives in 2021 and 2022 by tens of millions of dollars in stock awards, attributing the discrepancy to inaccurate valuation methods.

Notably, Tim Cook’s compensation in those years exceeded $99 million annually, primarily from stock awards. However, his total pay dropped to $63.2 million in 2023. Meanwhile, the four other executives received over $26 million each year.

Apple Wins Another Important Legal Battle

In a separate legal battle, Apple secured another victory as a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by AliveCor, a Silicon Valley startup, regarding alleged monopolistic practices in the heart rate monitoring app market for the Apple Watch. US District Judge Jeffrey White in Oakland, California, rejected AliveCor’s claims of antitrust violations and unfair competition by Apple, though specifics of the ruling remain undisclosed due to confidentiality reasons.

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AliveCor expressed disappointment with the outcome and vowed to appeal, while Apple reiterated its commitment to innovation and fostering a competitive ecosystem for consumers and developers. The company emphasised the court’s decision as a validation of its stance against allegations of anticompetitive behaviour.

The legal dispute between AliveCor and Apple stemmed from allegations made by AliveCor regarding Apple’s conduct in the heart-monitoring technology sphere. AliveCor asserts that Apple initially expressed interest in collaborating on heart-monitoring technology for the Apple Watch. However, AliveCor claims that Apple subsequently utilised similar concepts independently, effectively dominating the market for heart rate analysis.

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Specifically, AliveCor alleges that Apple altered its heart rate algorithm to hinder third-party developers from detecting irregular heartbeats and developing competing applications.

AliveCor, known for its innovations such as the KardiaBand – an Apple Watch accessory capable of recording electrocardiograms (ECGs) – and the Kardia app, which enables ECG analysis on Apple Watches, along with the SmartRhythm heart rate analysis app utilising artificial intelligence, asserts that Apple’s actions have had a detrimental impact on competition in the industry.

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