For Apple, a $76 Billion Dilemma
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL - News) has built up a $76.2 billion cash hoard. Now the question is what the company intends to do with the money pile.
On Tuesday, the Cupertino, Calif., company disclosed cash, including short-term and long-term marketable securities, for the quarter ended June 25 increased 15.8% since March to $76.2 billion. That's more than the gross domestic product of 126 countries, including nations such as Ecuador, Bulgaria, Sri Lanka and Costa Rica, according to data from the World Bank.
The gigantic sum on Wednesday prompted some investors to call for it to use some of the cash for dividend payouts. "If they can't find ways to use it to grow, they should be returning it to shareholders," said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment officer of Solaris Asset Management, which owns Apple stock.
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Asked to comment, an Apple spokesman referred to a long-standing policy as outlined by Chief Executive Steve Jobs last October. "We strongly believe that one or more very strategic opportunities may come along that we can take that we're in a unique position to take advantage of because of our strong cash position," he said at the time.
The cash puts Apple at the head of a pack of large technology companies that have been stockpiling cash in recent years. Microsoft Corp., for example, has built up its cash levels to $60.9 billion, including equity and others investments as of March. Google Inc. has $39.1 billion and Cisco Systems Inc. $43.4 billion by a similar measure as of their latest reporting periods.
Many corporations have accumulated cash because of economic uncertainty over the last several years.
I believe in capitalism, but what exactly is Apple doing with all that cash?