Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) Beats Import Ban on Watches
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Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) Beats Import Ban on Watches

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Apple may have a way around the import ban on Apple Watches, and it may also have plans to lose 121 employees, too.

The ongoing patent war between tech giant Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and medical technology company Masimo (NASDAQ:MASI) has produced more than its share of confusion and potential disaster. But new reports suggest that the news for Masimo may be worse than expected, as U.S. Customs and Border Protection weighed in on Apple Watches and their recent efforts to beat an import ban.

Back on Friday, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Service released word that Apple could redesign its Apple Watches to get around an import ban on the devices. The current import ban applies to Series 9 and Ultra 2 watches and was originally put in place on December 26. A day later, Apple got an appeals court to halt the ban, and now, Apple is back selling the watches while it works to fight the larger ruling that prompted the ban in the first place.

Then, Apple brought out plans to redesign the watch in a fashion that would render Masimo’s patent issue moot. The customs service was ready to go with it. However, reports note that the International Trade Commission could still get involved and overrule the customs service.

Stealth Layoff Next?

While this might be very good news for Apple, which no longer would have to contend with a potential ban, it may also be looking to stage a “stealth layoff.” Stealth layoffs are, effectively, layoffs of staff using unexpected means, like a sudden office move. Apple recently told 121 of its staff members in San Diego that they’d need to move to Austin or be let go. They have until the end of February to decide. Reports note that the San Diego contingent will be moved to Austin to rejoin another section of the Data Operations Annotations team. However, reports also note the San Diego team mostly doesn’t want to go.

Is Apple a Buy or Sell Right Now?

Turning to Wall Street, analysts have a Moderate Buy consensus rating on AAPL stock based on 23 Buys, nine Holds, and one Sell assigned in the past three months, as indicated by the graphic below. After a 37.54% rally in its share price over the past six months, the average AAPL price target of $203.35 per share implies 9.38% upside potential.



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