As promised, mega-billionaire Carl Icahn published an open letter to Tim Cook today, lauding the Apple CEO for leading the Cupertino-based technology giant out of uncertainty and into the promised land.
“As a large Apple shareholder with approximately 53 million shares,” Icahn begins his letter, “we applaud you and the rest of management, especially in light of recent launches and announcements which further validate our view that you are the ideal CEO for Apple.”
You can read the whole thing for yourself at his blog. In it, the paragraph break-averse activist/investor–who has something of a surly reputation for getting into public spats with other billionaires–outlines some of the areas where he feels Apple will outshine the competition. (Which, according to Icahn, is basically just Google.)
Of note: Icahn is really keen on the prospects of the Apple Watch, despite the puzzled first wave of reactions, which progressed to cautiously lukewarm:
It appears to us that Jony Ive and his team have yet again executed at a level that will bring to market a product that revolutionizes the entire category from both a hardware and software perspective, especially given that Apple has developed an entirely new operating system for this device, and catered to the notion that such a device needs to be far more fashionable and personal than other products currently available in this category.
Icahn thinks the wearable will be rousing success, and follow a similar growth trajectory to the iPad:
As an accessory to the iPhone (model 5 or thereafter), we believe we have included in our forecast sales for the Apple Watch that imply a reasonable attach rate to the iPhone, with unit sales volume resembling that of the iPad in scale, and ramping at a similar incline, selling 20 million units in FY 2015, 45 million units in FY 2016, 72.5 million units in 2017.
Indeed, the letter is high praise for a CEO whom he saw fit to blast as recently as January. At the time, Icahn criticized Cook for failing to return Apple’s $160 billion cash hoard to investors; Apple went on to issue a dividend in May. So, even if you think of Icahn as a featherless Scrooge McDuck, one thing is clear: The man certainly knows how to use his words to move markets. (And make himself truckloads of coin in the process.)