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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: Stop patent trolling and give it to charity?
By sigmatau on 2/24/2012 9:10:32 PM , Rating: 1
Go to Japan if you want to see a slowdown in reproduction rates. It just blows my mind that what I learned in 6th grade eludes adults.

I think you are a horrible judge of charities. That charity is doing more for humanity than any other for the money they spend. If they could cure cancer or AIDS, they would. But instead, they wanted to get the most bang for their buck and eradicate other horrible diseases that would save the most lives. Just because those lives are not your mother or yourself does not mean they are not worth saving. Arrogant twit.

RE: Stop patent trolling and give it to charity?
By messele on 2/25/2012 4:36:20 AM , Rating: 3
You should have spent more time in 6th grade learning to read thoroughly.

Let's recap - saving lives = a good thing (that's the bit where you are an idiot)

Preventing an avalanche of unsustainable new lives = a better cure in the long term.

If it's not malaria that will kill overpopulated, underdeveloped countries it's AIDS or it's some other disease, perhaps one that is yet to be diagnosed, let alone cured).

So here's a radical ideal. How about we take all the education and religion issues that are the root of the overpopulation / disease problem and tackle those? Who said that means not tackling a treatable disease for those that have it?

Saving lives is wonderful. Saving millions of lives without tackling the consequences or addressing the dirty little unthinkable truths is a recipe for disaster.

But it's ok. Carry on living in your insular bubble fantasising about what a wonderful disease-free long-lived world we could have.

RE: Stop patent trolling and give it to charity?
By sigmatau on 2/25/12, Rating: 0
By messele on 2/25/2012 4:09:28 PM , Rating: 3
Again we seem to be missing the bit where words are structured into cohenrant sentences. You cant skim over words just to suit what you've already planned on saying as a reply. Let's make it simple, third time lucky you might get it even if you don't agree with my point of view...

1/ Cure those that are already alive but ill.

2/ Cure future mass sickness by educating people that breeding lots of sick children in the hope that one may survive into adulthood is a bad idea since the odds are self defeating and if by chance they all survive then the population will increase causing massive disease and famine problem. One child = less drain on resources and less chance of mass disease.

If you don't have mass births then aid workers have a chance to get to grips with the disease and mass deaths will eventually be stemmed. Is that so hard to understand?

"Can anyone tell me what MobileMe is supposed to do?... So why the f*** doesn't it do that?" -- Steve Jobs

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