It's a Wall St myth that quarterly returns are the best thing to optimize for generating shareholder value or that executives are obligated to do so.
It's the kind of capitalism that tells you the most efficient way to heat your house is to set it on fire.
And it's not a wall street myth that quarterly returns are the best thing, more a CNN/Stock Trader myth. There are a huge number of investors like Warren Buffett who know that is entirely wrong.
But it's a common misconception that cutting spending is bad for business. In this case they are cutting a deluded CEO who had his own personality cult and a massive team of paid cheerleaders. Overpaying employees isn't "investing", paying closer to market isn't going to hurt the business. On the contrary, it can focus it and unleash greater growth.
When Steve Jobs came back to Apple he cut the Newton, dozens of Mac hardware projects, and almost all advanced R&D. He focused the Mac team on four market segments and only four computers. He focused remaining research on areas that could lead to products they understood, mainly touchpads. It took them nearly 10 years of careful iteration, (they designed the iPad first and Steve refused to launch it) before they built the iPhone.
But if Steve hadn't focused on getting Apple's quarterly burn down, they never would have made it. If he hadn't focused their efforts, they likely never would have made great products. If he had thrown money at every half baked idea, they would have died.
I certainly agree that the boost-short-term-profit-to-get-rich-then-bail is deeply unethical (and sometimes illegal).
However, "doing it right", and using the added wealth to grow the business in the long term will benefit everyone (founders, shareholders, consumers, and the economy), and is one of the BEST parts of capitalism.