back to article Apple chief thinks about his MOUNTAIN OF CASH a lot

Apple has given in to shareholder pressure on director voting, but is still thinking about what to do with its vast mountain range of cash. The fruity firm is sitting on $98bn, which in single dollar bills is roughly equivalent to 45 Olympic swimming pools stuffed with notes or half of a regular-sized supertanker groaning with …

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  1. g e
    Holmes

    "it's more than we need to run the company"

    GUFFAW

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "it's more than we need to run the company"

      Yep, it's pretty obvious how he got the top job. Sharp as a razor.

      1. Armando 123
        Devil

        Re: Re: "it's more than we need to run the company"

        And master of the understated. So that fits their design philosophy.

    2. Chris Miller

      Re: "it's more than we need to run the company"

      On this basis:

      http://demonocracy.info/infographics/eu/debt_piigs/debt_piigs.html

      it's about 36 lorry loads. ($1 = €0.75)

  2. Andy ORourke
    Joke

    but how much of an area.....

    ....the size of wales would it cover?

    1. johnnytruant

      Re: but how much of an area.....

      I may be wrong here, but I think it's 4.7 centiWales.

      Credit certainly due to http://www.simonkelk.co.uk/sizeofwales.html

      1. Tim Jenkins

        Re: Re: but how much of an area.....

        Please show any rough working in the space provided

        (and for extra credit, what is it in an area of whales?)

      2. H2Nick

        @Johhnytruant - Looks correct

        Using Dollar bill size 6.6294 x 15.5956 cm

        9.8 x 10 ^^ 10 USD

        10 ^^ -10 to convert sq cm to sq km

        gives just over 1000 sq km

        Wales area seems to be about 20770 sq km, so just under a twentieth of a Wales.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's almost enough money

    to pay the KLF to reform and organise a bonfire night party

    1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

      Re: It's almost enough money

      Fire up the sonic cannon and crash the Rave War tank into the next Turner Prize awards.

  4. ratfox Silver badge
    Pint

    I approve...

    of Olympic swimming pools as a measure of money.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Agreed, but not so sure about

      "regular sized supertankers".

      I didn't know there were irregular sized supertankers, and if there were why wouldn't they be called something different, like not-so-supertankers for the smaller, or super-dupertankers for the larger.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Agreed, but not so sure about

        Here is how it goes:

        Mini-tanker

        Tanker

        Supertanker

        Megatanker

        Ultratanker

        Hypertanker

        1. ItsNotMe
          Coat

          Re: Re: Agreed, but not so sure about

          Didn't you forget one? The FBT?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hows about

    They start paying a dividend? That money belongs to the shareholders and if it is more than is reasonably and foreseeably required to run the company, it should be given back to them.

    Also, while they're at it, hows about setting up some charitable giving, like every other company in Silicon Valley, and helping out those less lucky than them.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Charitable giving

      "helping out those less lucky"

      They can start with me. I'm not greedy. A shedload of cash will do (Imperial, coz that's slightly bigger than a metric shed)

      1. Arnold Lieberman
        Joke

        Re: Charitable giving

        Here's an idea: They could give it all to billg to invest in good works. I'm sure he wouldn't spend it on Apple shares and close the shop down.

    2. Gordon 10 Silver badge

      Re: Hows about

      Muppet.

      The money most certainly does not belong to the shareholders.

      Do you know anything about shareholding whatsoever?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      Re: Hows about

      Beg pardon? What planet do you descend from?

      The last time I checked the resources of a company belong to the company, not the shareholders. This kind of attitude is precisely why companies are scared of investing in R&D because they fear the inevitable "we demand dividends, and if we don't get them, we sue your ass until you give 'em to us".

      Your rights as a shareholder are spelled out to you in your share issue. Unless the company's share classes specify that you will be guaranteed a dividend, you are *NOT* automatically entitled to one. The cashola in Apple's bank's vaults are its own. If you don't like it, sell your shares. But you won't because you know you're better off with Apple shares (even without dividends) than without.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Re: Hows about

        Err... The shareholders own the company, ergo the shareholders own it's money. If the company wants to own the money it should go private and buy all its shares back from the customers.

        Not issuing a dividend actually encourages the shareholders to make short term investments, which is not good for the company. It even encourages short selling - why would you bother with long term investments, if you're not going to see any return on your money? Best make ultra short term investments based on product release cycles.

        As for paying a dividend preventing R&D - you ask me what planet I'm from? If a tech company doesn't do R&D no-one is going to invest in it are they?

    4. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Hows about

      And what would the shareholders do with it that was a better investment than having it in Apple shares?

      By announcing a dividend you say that you don't see any future growth for the company and you are now basically a blue-chip utility type stock and should be priced as such = a 90% drop in the share price.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Re: Hows about

        It doesn't matter what the shareholders are going to do with it. They may diversify their portfolio, they may spend it. Who cares?

        I really don't understand your 2nd para - Apple is very unusual in a large multinational company who are performing well, in that they don't pay a dividend. Why would their share price fall if they announced that the big fat pile of cash they're always banging on about is going to be in part given to the shareholders, if anything that would make Apple shares more desirable and therefore go up in price.

  6. Armando 123
    Coat

    Nearly enough

    to pay for an Illinois governor.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Nearly enough

      Obama in 2008, in the most expensive election campaign ever, spent $750M (twice as much as McCain)

      So with $100Bn in the bank - Apple could comfortably buy all the presidential elections for the next 500years

      1. ItsNotMe
        Coat

        Re: Re: Nearly enough

        " Apple could comfortably buy all the presidential elections for the next 500years..."

        Sorry...but the US has other companies doing that currently. No need for Apple to get involved right now...thank you.

  7. Geoff Campbell
    WTF?

    Wait, what?

    $526? That's *got* to be a bubble, surely?

    GJC

  8. Schist

    Poor corporate governance.

    Holding that much cash should be challenged by the board. Apple needs to either invest it (creatively) or give it back....

    Steve

    1. MacGyver
      Facepalm

      Re: Poor corporate governance.

      Spend it on R&D, the end. They run around all day suing people and other companies for "slide-to-unlock" and other stupid patents, and have enough money to build their own fracking Moon base. Pathetic.

      Here are some ideas off the top of my head you could work on.

      1) A better material for a rubber sphincter to close the headphone jack when not being used, to keep lint and water out. Hell how about just using it on every opening on the iWhatever.

      2) Make iTunes work better, or at least decrypt the database on your iWhatever so I can use something other than iTunes to upload music to an iWhatever.

      3) With 98 billion in R&D, iPhones should have THE BEST ANTENNAE ever created by man.

      4) Hire a guy to suss out white (and other colored) materials during the design phase, so that it doesn't take 2 years to release a white model.

      5) Design better anti-reflective screens, don't just wait for another company to do it, then buy theirs.

      6) Ditto above but in regards to scratch-proofing screens.

      7) Develop colored e-ink screens that are fast look like LCDs, and make them so good, that no one ever uses LCDs ever again.

      8) Develop better production line robots to replace all those slave-wage worker jobs you currently need to make your iWhatever.

      9) Develop a wireless mesh network that uses the anonymous nodes you sell to people for access, to carry the signal from place to place, so we can have truly anonymous free wireless networking everywhere.

      10) Move manufacturing jobs back to the US and not make so much profit on your iWhatever that they don't even know what to spend it on.

  9. Crazy Operations Guy Silver badge

    Build a factory

    They could use the money to build a factory in US, pay a decent wage and no longer have to worry about abuses in FoxConn's factory or worry about FoxConn engineers losing prototypes. Hell, they could build it next to Samsung's new Texas factory, then they wouldn't have to ship most of the parts.

    Maybe then they could have a program where Fanbois could work at the factory and if they assemble 1000 iPhones, they get to keep one. Free labor and fanbois get the latest i-Device.

    Of course then they could also take the moral high-road and lord it over every other company that manufactures things in China.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Would it pay of Greece's national debt?

    Having Apple bail out Greece, would surely rewrite a few books. :)

  11. GrantB
    Boffin

    I have an idea for Apple

    Spend about .001% of the cash, hire some programmers and rewrite/fix the iTunes client? Please?

    There are several major bugs that I run into with iOS5 and iTunes pretty much every day (and plenty of other people complain about the same issues on line) that Apple should fix if they weren't making vast sums of money anyway.

    After that, I don't really care what Apple do with the piles of case, but it would be amusing for them to do something like buy Nokia, kill what's left of WP7 and use Nokia to cover the non-smartphone market or as a low end phone brand.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "or worry about FoxConn engineers losing prototypes."

    Yeah as if that could never happen in the US.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Of course the shareholders own the company - i.e. a SHARE of it - so they do own the cash Apple have in the bank. The question is that is down to the board to run the company and decide what to do with that cash - their whole remit is to maximise shareholder value. Of course if a board goes too far against the wishes of the majority of the shareholders they can be replaced.

    The Apple board had decided to grow the cash pile - but really these days it's getting so huge they really do need to do something with it. The options would be nothing (continue as they are), share buy backs, dividends or spend it (i.e. buy another company or companies).

    The last thing shareholders want to do is force the board into spending it - all too often in history boards have bought other companies - but paid too much = poor value for shareholders. $100bn+ cash (as it probably is now) or even if they had to spend more could pretty much buy almost any other tech company out there - it's not as if they are not good for a loan.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Hell, they could build it next to Samsung's new Texas factory, then they wouldn't have to ship most of the parts."

    Except Samsung will probably be losing a lot of it's iPhone supply contracts. If I were Apple I would show them the door.

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