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Warren Buffett Cuts Stake in Apple by 13%

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway has cut its stake in Apple, apparently for tax reasons.

The conglomerate’s first quarter earnings report — released Saturday — showed the company’s investment in the tech giant at $135 billion. 

A report by CNBC noted this would mark a drop of 13%, though Apple remains Berkshire Hathaway’s largest holding, and that this was the second quarter in a row that it has reduced its stake in the company.

During a question-and-answer session at Berkshire’s annual meeting in Omaha, Buffet seemed to suggest that the sale was for tax reasons following sizable gains, the CNBC report said, noting that the billionaire also implied the sale could be related to him wanting to escape a higher tax bill if rates go higher to cover a rising U.S. fiscal deficit.

“It doesn’t bother me in the least to write that check and I would really hope with all that America’s done for all of you, it shouldn’t bother you that we do it and if I’m doing it at 21% this year and we’re doing it a little higher percentage later on, I don’t think you’ll actually mind the fact that we sold a little Apple this year,” Buffett said.

The news came on the heels of Apple’s quarterly earnings call, one which — PYMNTS wrote — spurred “investors to breathe a sigh of relief,” as the company posted a 4% dip in sales that was better than what some observers had feared, and the tech giant showed progress in its artificial intelligence (AI) efforts.

“We continue to feel very bullish about our opportunity in generative AI,” said CEO Tim Cook. “We are making significant investments, and we’re looking forward to sharing some very exciting things with our customers soon.” 

As PYMNTS wrote in a separate report, Apple is apparently in discussions with OpenAI over the potential integration of the startup’s GenAI capabilities into the iPhone. However, there have also been reports that Apple is in talks with Google to license its Gemini AI technology for new iPhone features. 

“Apple is also working on its own AI systems. Company researchers have developed a new AI system to interpret ambiguous references and understand contextual cues. The system could also be used to improve voice recognition,” that report said. “A study by PYMNTS indicates consumer interest in voice technology, with 54% of respondents expressing a desire to use it more in the future due to its speed.”