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Cook is wondering what to do with the company's $97.6 billion

There's no doubt that Apple is a cash cow. Just last year, many reports started circulating that the tech giant had a larger bank account than the U.S. government, where Apple ended June 2011 with $76.2 billion and the government had $73.8 billion. Now, Apple CEO Tim Cook is saying that the company has more money than it needs.

At the annual shareholders' meeting on Thursday, which is the first since former Apple CEO Steve Jobs' death, Cook tried to determine whether Apple should stop hoarding cash the way Jobs has been for years, or if it's time to stick a hand in the $97.6 billion cookie jar and pay shareholders a dividend this year.

Apple used to pay shareholders a quarterly dividend, but stopped doing so in 1995 because of Apple's financial hardships. Apple even had to turn to Microsoft for a $150 million infusion around the time that Jobs came back as CEO in 1997.

After those dark times, Jobs held on to every cent that the company made. When the new millennium rolled around, Apple started seeing great success with Macs, Macbooks, iPods/iPod touch's, iPhones and iPads. Despite the large amount of cash coming in, Jobs continued pinching pennies.

Now, Jobs has been deceased since October 5, 2011, and Cook is looking to use some of the money that it has because he said "it's more than we need to run the company." The problem is figuring out what to do with the money.

Paying a dividend to shareholders would offer a long-term increase to Apple's stock price because it would lure new investors who only buy shares in companies with a dividend.

However, Apple shareholder Asif Khan of Sugar Land, Texas suggested that Cook not provide a quarterly dividend every three months because it might be misinterpreted by some investors that Apple is losing faith in its ability to continue pushing its stock price higher as the company keeps introducing popular products. Rather, Khan would prefer Apple to pay a one-time divided later this year before the federal tax rate limits dividends to 15 percent.

Apple's stock has soared 50 percent over the past year, producing about $160 billion in shareholder wealth and now has a market value of $480 billion. Shares of Apple rose less than 1 percent to $516.39 at closing yesterday.

Another suggestion of what to do with the cash was to buy Greece, which is currently experiencing a debt crisis, but Cook said Apple is not interested.

The cash cow is only likely to get larger with Apple planning several product and software launches this year. For instance, the iPad 3 is due to be announced at an event next week, and the OS X Mountain Lion operating system is due this year as well.

Source: Bloomberg

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RE: Buy market share?
By TakinYourPoints on 2/24/2012 3:46:19 PM , Rating: 1
Then there's the fact that most OS X versions are substantial upgrades (I'd put 10.6 as the one exception as nearly everything was under-the-hood). The move from 10.3 to 10.4 was a bigger leap than the move from XP to Vista, and it cost less. To compare those upgrades to mere service packs is asinine.

RE: Buy market share?
By zero2dash on 2/24/2012 10:49:16 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, because no Microsoft service pack has ever offered new features for the same price of free.

Keep eating it up boys and girls, there's plenty to go around.

The fact is you can call it a dot upgrade but the fact remains it's still the same thing as a free service pack in Windows because it's the same thing. You're not going from OS X 10 to OS X 11, you're going 10.1, 10.2, 10.3 etc etc repeat ad nauseum. I went from 10.3 to 10.4 and 10.5. Still had to pay for those so called "upgrades". You might as well consider it OS X 10 SP7 at this point because that's what it is. "Oh they change the style of the Dock, surely that's an UPGRADE." Wrong.

10.3 to 10.4 was a bigger leap than XP to Vista? [rolleyes]

RE: Buy market share?
By messele on 2/25/2012 11:24:17 AM , Rating: 2
I think it was - or at least it was in terms of positive features as opposed to a bunch of pain in the arse security kludges that we all so loved so much with Vista that we tried to hang on to XP as long as possible. Vista to Win7 was a far bigger and more worthwhile upgrade but who's brave enough to admit that Vista was a pile of poop after all?

The Dock change comment pretty much writes off the rest of what you have to say since changes like that (while counted in the 100's listed with every upgrade) are insignificant compared to the dozen or two dozen that come with each point upgrade that represent excellent value for money.

I could provide an extensive list but I really cannot be bothered to preach to the terminally ignorant.

RE: Buy market share?
By TakinYourPoints on 2/25/2012 8:13:24 PM , Rating: 2
The Dock change comment pretty much writes off the rest of what you have to say since changes like that (while counted in the 100's listed with every upgrade) are insignificant compared to the dozen or two dozen that come with each point upgrade that represent excellent value for money.

Nailed it. Now watch him write off substantial changes made to workspace management, systemwide indexing, move to a 64-bit operating system, and hundreds of other additions as things you'd get in a service pack. Ridiculous

RE: Buy market share?
By TakinYourPoints on 2/25/2012 8:07:48 PM , Rating: 2
It was absolutely a bigger upgrade. I've made Microsoft OS upgrades since MS-DOS 4.0 and Mac upgrades only since OS 10.2. I personally upgraded machines from both XP to Vista and 10.3 to 10.4, and featurewise the OS X upgrades have been far more substantial than a service pack. Spotlight systemwide indexing and search (which still works better than Windows Search in Windows 7) was by itself far beyond what you'd see in a mere service pack, and it was one of many additionas in that upgrade.

It seems that you are basing the value of the upgrade on something copmpletely superficial, the name, rather than looking at added functionality for end users and changes under the hood.

Your entire argument hinges on marketing names rather than features. Do you realize how stupid that sounds?

RE: Buy market share?
By djdjohnson on 3/1/2012 5:45:29 PM , Rating: 2
XP to Vista was almost a bigger upgrade than System 1 to OS X. The UI for the Mac has hardly changed since it came out in 1984. Sure, they've added the dock and color to the interface, but it's still the same basic UI.

At least in XP to Vista they reworked a ton of stuff. And the internals in Vista are incredibly different than they were in XP. Microsoft nearly doubled the number of APIs and features available to developers in Vista. You can't say anything like that about 10.anything to 10.anything else. It's more-or-less the same as when it shipped more than 10 years ago.

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