Apple has been described as the "greatest cash machine in history".
But in its march towards a $US1 trillion ($1.26 trillion) market cap, the company has at times been a victim of its own success.
In 2013 activist hedge fund managers Carl Icahn and David Einhorn successfully pushed for Apple to return some of its $US100 billion cash pile to investors – a recognition that it had reached the end of its innovative phase.
Now Apple is the subject of an altogether different activist campaign, one that could elevate the responsible investment movement beyond those concerned about climate change to those fearful about the mental wellbeing of their children.
This week, hard-nosed New York activist fund Jana Partners and the $US220 billion institution Californian State Teachers Retirement System (Calsters) penned a letter to the Apple board at 1 Infinite Loop, Cupertino.
In five pages they outlined their concerns about the unintentional negative consequences of smartphone use, particularly among kids, citing several academic research papers.
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