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Is Apple's Antitrust Suit A Gift For Loyalists? Jim Cramer Reminds Investors How DOJ Created 'Gigantic Buying Opportunity' Going After Microsoft 25 Years Ago

Shanthi Rexaline
March 22, 2024

As Apple, Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) finds itself in the crosshairs of antitrust regulators from both sides of the Atlantic, bullish market watchers have rallied to its defense. On Thursday, CNBC’s “Mad Money” host Jim Cramer and Gene Munster from Deepwater Asset Management weighed in on how the saga might unfold for the company and its stock.

What Happened: The Cupertino tech giant faces antitrust scrutiny for allegedly employing practices that lock customers into iPhones, making it harder to switch brands, and hindering competitors from developing apps that rival Apple’s offerings. 

“I have liked the stock since it was $5,” stated Cramer. He also addressed investor negativity toward Apple stock, noting it’s nothing new. “I have seen so many of these fear waves occur because Apple has some of the least loyal shareholders—but also some of the most,” he added.

“The least loyal are bailing because they never knew the company anyway.”

These remarks come amid the stock underperforming its Magnificent 7 peers. Year-to-date, Apple shares have fallen about 11%, contrasting with record highs for the S&P 500 Index, Nasdaq 100, and Nasdaq Composite.

The stock closed Thursday down 4.09% at $171.37, according to Benzinga Pro data, with weakness stemming from negative headlines on the DOJ probe.

See Also: Everything You Need To Know About Apple Stock

Cramer criticized Apple sellers for being ruled by fear. “Let them get shaken out. Let them be sunshine soldiers, let them be summer patriots,” he remarked. Addressing Apple loyalists, he quipped, “Here’s your hat, what’s your hurry and don’t let the door hit you on the way out!”

Reiterating that extreme fear guides the hearts of sellers, Cramer suggested, “The sellers of Apple’s stock act like [DOJ Attorney General] Merrick Garland has the power to destroy Apple.” He referenced history to emphasize that the lawsuit might not significantly harm Apple.

“Even Joel Klein, who pursued Microsoft to the end of the earth twenty-five years ago, just created a gigantic BUYING OPPORTUNITY for MSFT,” he said. Klein served as DOJ AG from July 1997 to September 2000 and clamped down on software giant Microsoft’s monopolistic practices. Despite the probe, Microsoft is now the world’s most-valued corporation.

Cramer expressed more frustration with Apple investors who sold out of the stock due to the antitrust overhang than with the DOJ. “I am aghast not at the Justice Department, which I think will be proven wrong, but by these sellers who obviously don’t know how slowly the wheels of justice work and how filing a lawsuit isn’t the same as WINNING a lawsuit,” he remarked.

Mere Noise? Munster, in a post on X, regarded the development as “noise.” Reposting a video clip of his interview with CNBC on the DOJ probe, he stated, “Consumers just want the best tech for the money, and Apple delivers that today and will in three years.”

He anticipated minimal changes forced upon Apple by the DOJ. “Yes, Apple will likely be forced to make some small changes to ‘delight’ the regulators, but those tweaks won’t change the loyalty the company has from its 1.4 billion and growing customer base.”

However, he foresaw Apple’s multiple suffering in the near term. “This is going to be a topic that’s going to weigh on Apple’s multiple… it’s an easy target for investors to get concerned about. But I would say put your money on Apple’s devices, [they] are going to stand on their innovation.”

Read Next: Apple Seeks China Fix: Tim Cook Meets Key Partner In Shanghai As iPhone Sales Splutter

Image created using photos on Shutterstock

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