One of the more stunning revelations to come out of Apple’s recent finical results is that the company has now built a stockpile of more than $178 billion in cash reserves. That is quite a hefty savings that will no doubt come in handy for future acquisitions, research and development, and numerous other project such as building a new $850 million solar farm in California. While it seems mind-boggling that any company could have so much cash on hand, Apple’s unprecedented success over the past few years has allowed it to stockpile an amazing amount of wealth. If Tim Cooke and the Apple Board are looking for ideas on how to spend it, I have 10 suggestions for them.
Build Marketshare in the U.S.
There are an estimated 245,600,000 people living in the U.S. over the age of 18. Apple could use their enormous wealth to buy everyone of them an iPhone 6 with 16GB of storage. That would set Apple back about $160 billion, which would only leave them with about $18 billion to get by. It would also add significantly to the market share of iOS, cutting deeply into Android’s numbers.
Start Cutting Checks
If Apple decided it didn’t want to give away iPhones to every adult, it could also cut a check for about $560 to every man, woman, and child living the U.S. instead. With about 318 million people living in the country, the stockpile of cash would go quickly.
Remember Ping? That was Apple’s failed attempt to get into social networking that came and went without anyone really noticing. Since it was shuttered back in 2012, the company hasn’t shown any real ambitions in the social arena, but if it wanted to make a splash in that area it could easily purchase both Twitter and Instagram. Both are valued at approximately $35 billion each, which would barely put a dent in the Apple war chest. They could add LinkedIn to the mix for a another $33.5 billon too.
Become A Cell Service Provider
It’s no secret that the iPhone is big business for Apple, making up an increasingly larger share of the company’s annual revenues. But it would be an even more important product if Apple were actually a cell phone service provider as well. The second largest carrier in the U.S. is AT&T, which is valued at roughly $178 billion. It would take all of Apple’s reserves to buy the company, but in doing so it would become an even bigger player in the mobile arena.
While Amazon remains a darling of Wall Street it’s market capitalization is “only” about $175 billion. Apple could buy the entire company with its cash on hand, and still have a few billion dollars to spare. By killing off the Kindle tablet line, it would take out a direct competitor for the iPad. Killing off the Fire Phone would have no effect on iPhone sales however.
Make A Move Into Television
We’ve been hearing for some time that Apple has plans to shake-up the television industry. They could do just that buy purchasing Comcast, which is valued at roughly $148.5 billion. That would not only give Apple control over the NBC television network, but Comcast cable as well. It would also make Apple a large Internet service provider too. As a leader in the tech industry, I’m sure it could find some benefits to having it’s own Internet service.
While Apple has earned its success in the tech sector, it could spend its money branching out into other industries as well. For instance, it’s $178 billion in cash is slightly more than the total Gross National Product of Kuwait, which stands at about $175.7 billion. Perhaps making a sweet offer to the Middle Eastern country would allow Apple to expand into petroleum production, earning them a spot at the table with other OPEC nations.
Shut Down Dell
Back in 1997, Michael Dell famously said he’d “shut down” Apple and “give the money back to the shareholders.” Now, Dell Computers has a total net worth of about $25 billion, which means Apple could buy the company and close it down just for fun. That small amount of cash would barely even be noticed by Apple accountants.
Pay The Tab On U.S. Foreign Aid
The U.S. government pays out approximately $35 billion in economic foreign aid on an annual basis. Apple could pick up the tab on that bill for the next five years with the cash that it currently has on hand. The U.S. pays out an additional $18 billion in military assistance to foreign nations, but I’d advise Apple to stay out of that quagmire.
Bonuses For Everyone!
There are a lot of people that work for Apple, and many of them play an integral role in the company’s success. If the Board of Directors chose to reward them for their contributions it could give each and every Apple employee – including those at the retail stores – a bonus of $1.9 million.
These suggestions are all meant to be humorous and a bit tongue in cheek, but they also put into perspective just how much cash Apple has at its disposal.