Microsoft Corporation (MSFT), Apple Inc. (AAPL): Fined For Working Late?

If you are like me, that’s never happened — but it can, even to underage Americans. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) was fined when a Paris court found them guilty of forcing workers (not underage) to work until 11 pm after the store closed at 9 pm. The median American household income is just over $50,000/year — if this was lobbied against the typical American family, the fine would be approximately $0.005.

This $13,000 fine, to a company that generated over approximately $156.51 billion in 2012, would hardly be considered a slap on the wrist. However, the company better watch out as they will be fined an additional $65,000 if they are found violating the labor law again. What were they fined for? French law requires that employers release employees between 9 pm and 6 am unless the company provides social services, or the company is there to maintain economic activity. The Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) stores were open until 9:00 pm, but kept employees until 11:00 pm for cleaning and organization purposes. Yes, that additional $65,000 potential fine is equivalent to $0.021 of the average American household income, but that is the “threat” that Apple was given.

Ok, so maybe Apple will not work its employees between those hours again, but I don’t think it’s the fine that will stop them. After all, the company’s gross profit for 2012 was well over $68.6 billion (43.9%). Apple’s market cap has grown 545% since 2008, and currently holds a 11.2% Free Cash Flow, or FCF, yield. I don’t know how low the stock will drop and honestly won’t make a prediction as there are so many variables, but Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) does show promising metrics in virtually every area besides its stock price.

With revenues in excess of $73.7 billion, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s fine would have been equivalent to $0.009 to an average American’s annual income. However, Microsoft wasn’t fined by a Paris court and will be able to keep its full $27.6 billion in FCF. Gross margins for the company are a remarkable 76.2%, which led to approximately $56.2 billion in gross profit. Microsoft’s earnings per share, or EPS, have risen seven of the past ten years (Apple’s EPS have risen ten of ten, by the way), but dropped from $2.69 to $2.00 in 2012. Finally, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s FCF yield is 11.8%.