back to article Jobs: I'll decide what to do with Apple's $40bn cash pile

Steve Jobs has told shareholders not to complain about the Mac maker's $40bn and growing cash mountain as he could decide to do something interesting with it at any time. Shareholders usually get antsy when companies cash piles grow too large, and start demanding execs do something to return the value to... them. Share …


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  1. DJV Silver badge

    "flip top volcanic island"

    and other options from:

    Nice, mine's the one with the trap door in one pocket and a fluffy white cat peering out the other.

  2. Chad H.


    They could buy Dell, shut it down, and return it's value to it's shareholders...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      That is a joke, right?

  3. benedictmurray


    Apple should buy Dropbox - would fit in well and maybe make MobileMe a bit less terrible value.

    And make an electric Car.

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: And make an electric Car.

      Ah! They should buy Audi, that's the perfect cultural fit. They currently build a VW, stick a badge on it and have rich, brand-obsessed twats beating a path to their door.


        sinclair c5

        Hey they could buy all the unsold stock of Sinclair C5's off of uncle Clive!

    2. jonathan keith


      Christ, I hope not. It's a great little product. I'd hate to see it ruined.

  4. Jon of Monkeys

    Bank it...

    Take the daily interest, split it in half, use one half for the advancement of new products. Take the second half and give it to a random member of the public. Disclaimer that they must spend a proportion of it on Apple products for themselves and their friends.

    Sorted! Wheres that marketing director application form?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Halo

    It's already gone

    Does anyone really believe apple would tell anyone if they'd spent it? Of course they wouldn't, even if they'd just bought google.

    Anyway, it's obvious that Jobs has already spent it on a massive organ harvesting plant. Thousands of genetically modified rats with human body parts growing out of their sides are being raised at this very moment. The plan is to keep him alive until the cyborg replicator (which is rumoured to be called 'iDupe Titanium') is ready.

    Saintly Jobs for an icon, because he's also bought the catholic church.

    1. Michael C

      good theory

      Well, at least until they have to report taxes, it;s possible, but sooner or later the SEC asks to see the books... :)

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns


    It has to be an island. With stuff hidden in a volcano. And a monorail! Don't forget the monorail!

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    With $40bn, Apple could easily buy Yahoo!

    1. Marcus Aurelius



    2. Trevor Pott o_O Gold badge

      Apple could buy....

      ...Amazon? Doubt it. They’ve already got both an e-store and a set of brick-and-mortars. They could simply expand their offerings through there.

      ...VMWare? It would probably be a bigger deal than $40B to pry it out of EMC's claws.

      …Microsoft/Google/Oracle/IBM/HP/Dell/etc. HAHAHAHAHAHA. HA HA. HA. OTOH, I’d love to know how many hundreds of Billions that would take, were someone inclined.

      …Citrix? An interesting thought. Apple sitting on top of that tech would make them an instantly viable “cloud” competitor. Worth thinking more about, if only because it would irritate Google.

      …[Server Maker]. (SGI? Supermicro?) Go into super-tight-stacked totally controlled servers and give both Cisco and Oracle heart palpitations.

      No, I suspect none of the above, truthfully. Apple’s MO is to make things (preferably CE products) that operate well with Apple, and who cares if they work with anyone else. I’d be far more likely to believe that Jobs will use this money to finally put to bed one of the longest running Mac complaints. “You can’t game on Apple, so it’s not worth buying.” Instead of buying a game dev or suchlike…

      Apple games console. (Maybe reusing the failed Apple TV brand as Apple TV 2.0 or suchlike?) It meets the Apple MO: it’s a consumer electronics device. It doesn’t “enhance” or “add value/get you bigger bank for your buck” to anything else they make. Rather gets you to buy a new device that “compliments” you existing Apple stack of CE devices. Instead of buying games in a store, you’d download them from the apple App Store. The marketing and “incentives” to game devs alone might well burn a hole in that $40B, let alone the R&D.

      Worth thinking about…

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "When we think about big, bold things, we know that if we needed to acquire something, a piece of the puzzle, to make something big and bold a reality, we could write a check for it"

    I know Apple are very secretive, but it almost sounds too carefree. Hope jobs knows what he's talking about.

  9. fnkyfnstr
    Jobs Horns

    Best Idea Yet

    How about giving some of it back to the people who have over paid for their mediocore technology.

    Yep me included.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    I hope so

    love him or hate him, Apple without jobs would be buried 6' under by now.

    1. Solomon Grundy


      Jobs is doing a great job (haha) these days but don't forget he was single-handily responsible for nearly destroying the company not once, but twice.

      I keep waiting for him to slip on a $40bn banana peel and tank the whole thing.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Gates Halo

      Love em or hate em

      Apple without Gates would have been six foot under years ago.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Gates Halo

        Best Investment ever

        You're right, Gates invested $200m ten years ago, thats now effectively turned into $40bn now, so Microsoft should turn round and ask for a damn large portion of that back seeing as Apple were going to the wall without the $200m in the first place.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Video Technology

          Wasn't that money paid as part of a legal deal in respect of certain video/streaming tech ?

        2. OffBeatMammal
          Gates Halo

          sadly for MSFT

          they sold off their AAPL investment quite a while back

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Halo

    They could buy off some of the UK debt...

    £25b should be a sizeable chunk out of our national debt, and they could use it to mandate their kit in schools, governments, public buildings etc. Sales opportunity...

    He could then be made Prime Minister on behalf of a grateful nation; after all, he is known as a "passionate and forceful" leader as well...

    1. David Webb

      Not quite no

      25billion is a drop in the ocean, wouldn't even pay the interest. We're about £1,000billion in debt so that's 2.5% roughly.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Down


        Thats a really, big, debt then. I remember when a Billion was worth something.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          If you want to have a little weep at the UK's deficit - take a look at this graphic:

          1. jolly

            Nice graph

            But the scaling of the blocks seem to have been skewed in many cases (the budget deficit block is 2.5 times the size of the African debt but monetarily only 1.4 times bigger). In fact many of the blocks don't seem to be to scale when comparing their actual values with their areas.

            But nice graph anyway I spose.

      2. Anonymous Coward

        Fully loaded debt

        £3,000,000,000,000 -- three trillion to you and me, three thousand billion, three million millions.

  12. JeffV

    Jobs for President

    A few weeks ago the US Supreme Court decided that corporations were allowed to invest in the political process, supporting candidates and lobbying.

    It's not a big leap to imagine a corporation deciding that they wanted to be President and $40B is enough to get Apple elected as prez, with Mr Jobs as Apple's Representative on Earth.

    With Apple as President, the people of the USA would enjoy a well designed health-care system. There would be no more crashes. The government would focus on a single issue until it was satisfactorily sorted, or something more important happened; there would be no multitasking. Only glowingly positive press would be permitted. All grievances would have to form an orderly queue but Apple's decision would be final. It would be expensive, but citizens would universally agree that it was easily worth the trouble. Small changes would be treated as major revolutions and would be required to be written about in breathless tones. The military would have stylish, glossy hardware.

    No opposition would be brooked.

    Uh-oh. I may have given Ballmer an idea. The MS Presidency: a celebration of the mediocre with a lot of marketing about the innovation but no changes. 'I'm a voter and an MS President was my idea.'

    1. Anonymous Coward

      already there!

      "Uh-oh. I may have given Ballmer an idea. The MS Presidency: a celebration of the mediocre with a lot of marketing about the innovation but no changes. 'I'm a voter and an MS President was my idea.'"

      Lets see - nothing happens unless there is a huge amount of bloat for very little useful "improvement" AND anything you want to work is basically broken.

      Sorry - we already have a MS Government. (Although it might be lots of other big companies ...)

  13. Ralph B
    Jobs Halo

    The Smell of Money

    Steve better spend it soon, otherwise Carl Icahn will be sniffing around, buying shares, demanding a place on the board, and ruining the company, like Motorola and Yahoo! before.

  14. Prag Fest
    Jobs Halo

    Splash the cash

    Go on, go mad, treat yourself to a new pair of Levi's.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    BruuHahahaha.... Apple falls on Golden Times..its Time for the...

    50-foot tall SOLID GOLD Statue of SJ himself...

    since hes now richer and more famous(and still breathing) than Michael Jackson.

    failing that, they could always buy up Apple records, lock stock and the entire Beatles IP to boot in one go AND still have change for that new statue.

    1. Marcus Aurelius

      Buy up Apple records

      Certainly would prevent any future trademark issues.

    2. Thyl Engelhardt


      according to a very very rough calculation, that might cost around 30 bio USD. So, Apple would still have the money to develop OX XI :-)

  16. twelvebore


    My money would be on them buying a media company (Time Warner is about $40bn from what I can see). Need lots of content for that $1bn data centre to stream to all those iP[ao]ds.

    1. Ed

      Hm, no

      Them buying a media company would jeopardise their relationship with all the other media companies. They need to remain somewhat impartial, if they want to sell content from a wide range of providers.

  17. Neil Paterson

    My enemy's enemy is my friend... given Google's spat with China, hell, why not buy China?!

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns


    They need to save up the $40billion for the up and coming anti-trust case, also to pay for all the patent cases against them, I figure after all that's sorted, the $50billion company will be worth.... a fiver.

  19. Solomon Grundy

    Big and Bold

    Like a giant iPod Touch maybe?

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I think Steve should build a state of the art hospital with thousands of beds and a whole floor full of MRI machines, then stubbornly refuse to open it because he doesn't want dying people to ruin his 1337 designs with their pale skin and saggy limbs

    He can have it fully staffed with doctors and nurses, keeping them there doing nothing indefinitely then just to be extra tasteless he can get adverts projected onto the moon "Don't come to the iHospital because we don't want your type there"

    1. Marvin the Martian


      Just, why? This post must be telling us something about your psychology, but I'm not convinced any of us wants to know.

  21. DZ-Jay

    Re: Extra-planet stores

    >> "Perhaps the firm is contemplating a chain of extra-Earth Apple stores to catch the nascent space tourism trade [...]"

    Ha, ha! You jest, but surely you know that if Jobs decides to promote space tourism and extra-planet computing Tomorrow, everybody will be building iRocket-wanna-be's by next year--right after they ridicule him for an ostensibly stupid idea.


  22. TeeCee Gold badge

    Message to shareholders.

    Steve's mystery Next Big Thing will be the iFuckedofftoantiguawithyourmoney.

  23. tkreyche


    New corporate tower complex on Alcatraz Island! Access via secure hovercraft.

  24. Bob Greenwood
    Jobs Halo

    The fruits of capiltalism

    They should buy a telecoms co - ORANGE - a dance studio - PINEAPPLE then RIM (for BLACKBERRY) and so on.....

    (Saintly Jobs because it looks like the rim of that top hat)

  25. tkreyche


    New corporate tower complex on Alcatraz Island! Access via secure hovercraft. Easily keep rogue employees in line.

  26. Daniel 1


    "Shareholders usually get antsy when companies cash piles grow too large, and start demanding execs do something to return the value to... them."

    Oh really? Read about Microsoft, much?

  27. Neil Greatorex


    Anyone remember what happened to them?

    They had a ginormous pile of real cash, then Weinstock retired.

    Who was it that oversaw the biggest collapse in British Corporate history? Can't remember his name, but he's a nuLabour peer now I believe.

    Let's hope crApple spend the wonga before Jobs retires..

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just go and buy TiVo

    Then the Apple TV becomes a useful product.

  29. Red Bren

    I'd put it on a horse

    That is all.

  30. blackworx

    How does he sleep at night?

    On a big pile of money with many beautiful women.

    (Apologies to The Simpsons for that one)

    Idea for the cash: give it to me. Not very original I know but I'm a bit skint and could do with a few billion to fund my salad dodging activities.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Apple shares

    Dont pay dividends, which is why i didn't buy any.

    If you buy an apple product (as i have) then you know you are offering a little of your rear to steve for a shafting, but at least you get an i-something, as a shareholder you get to let Steve look after your money and.... well thats it unless you sell them. Seems like shareholders have forgotten the way shares are public companies are supposed to work!!!

    (apparently the same applies to google shares, what is wrong with these selfish tech companies and their complete disregard for the way that other industries have been working for years).

  32. Bobster
    Thumb Up

    Steve's loaded?

    Do you think he'd lend me a tenner? I fancy a takeaway on my way home tonight...

  33. Petrea Mitchell

    You're thinking too small

    Flip-top islands? Mountain hideaways? Pfaugh! Any ordinary paranoid hyperbilliontrillionaire can get one of those. We all know Steve Jobs wants only the absolute best and to have everyone know about it.

    So when that second moon appears, please do not be alarmed.

    (No, of course he wouldn't have the existing one. All that dust, with black turtlenecks? What are you thinking???)

  34. William Boyle

    Buy Microsoft?

    If Apple were to purchase Microsoft, would that mean Windows becomes iWin?

  35. John Dougald McCallum

    Money for nothing and the chicks

    are free. Personally I dont see that a Corp the size of Apple $40 B better that than going cap in hand to the BANKS.

    1. Martin Nicholls


      Yeah because Microsoft's market cap is about 251Bn, which means you'd need to find about 400+ Bn to get get shareholders even slightly interested...

      And I'm pretty sure MSFT hold a fairly decent wedge of Apple shares anyways.

      And because I can't be bothered to write a seperate comment:

      "Which makes sense with the iPad coming down the pipe" - yes, because it's going to be a catastrophy.

  36. Anonymous Coward

    You guys ...

    have a nice sense of humor, but doesn't Gates have like ... more than 40 bil. alone... That's what I heard anyway.

    1. brym


      Personal worth. And I believe it's tied up in lots of investments.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Jobs Horns


      Did your computer tell you this or maybe the voices in your head..?

      As is generally well knbown, most of the the Gates' 50 Bil fortune has been donated to the Bill and Malinda Gates Foundation, i.e filanthropy funding causes around the world doing a MASSIVE amount of good.

      While Steve Jobs wouldn't piss on a homeless guy who was on fire, at least 'that's what I heard...'

  37. Fr. Ted Crilly Silver badge

    Smug +1

    Tom-Tom, they already have a slice of that smugnav.

    How about another stab a camera, that should blow a decent slice, or buy Canon for smug +2

    Paris cos she knows how to spend spend spend.

    1. Gulfie

      No! Not Canon!

      I want my DSLR cameras to continue to favour function over form and love my Canon cameras. If Steve got his hands on Canon I'd have a great fashion accessory but would no doubt have to pay Lord Jobs each time I wanted to print a photo taken on it...

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Spend 2 to get 80?

    I reckon Apple could spend 2 of those billions and get (at least) 80 of the same back.

  39. Raymond Cranfill
    Jobs Horns

    perhaps he needs a kidney, fast?

    h e wants it in case he has to bribe his way to the top of another organ transplant list. after all, it only took him three months the last time when the average waiting time for liver transplants can number in years.

  40. A 20

    In his shoes I'd spend it on scientific research.

    There's plenty of science that could be done, and probably should be done, that isn't getting done because the financial returns aren't large enough and/or immediate enough; or because there are financial dis-incentives for doing it. That's my suggestion for some of the money.

  41. kain preacher

    @Ralph B

    Steve Jobs would have Carl Icahn whacked . Horse head in the bed .

  42. Thyl Engelhardt

    MacOS XI?

    Has anybody noticed that OS development has more or less stalled in recent years? OSX is based on a system that first emerged in 1988, Linux and Solaris are remakes of an even older system, and Windows, well, you know that.

    Boy, when I remmeber all those fancy ideas how computers should work we hadback then, and all the concepts that eventually never made it to the PCs of the world.

    I attribute these baby step develoments without real, underlying progress to the increasing complexity. The entrance barriers are just too high, cost wise, but also project management wise.

    So, I hope that Apple will use a significant part of this money to develop a next generation operating system. They will need the money for this task.

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      Next gen OS?

      By Jove, I do believe you've got it!

      1) Build next-gen OS.

      2) Change architecture to an ARM-based processor line developed in-house.

      3) Cease support for Intel x86 kit three versions of next-gen OS later.

      4) Mactards forced to upgrade hardware en masse, resulting in some wingeing and a $40bn cash pile.

      5) Repeat ad infinitum.

  43. Richard Jukes


    As people have pointed out Apple buying Microsoft might be on the table, they would have to save for a few more years tho.

    Other than that, a games dev company would be a good idea or even a media company like Time Warner (Pay on Demand Ahoy!).

    But perhaps his Jobbyness is saving up to branch out into Electric Cars when they make it mainstream? An Apple thats a thought.

  44. GrantB
    Jobs Halo

    Apple games console.?

    Love it or hate it, iTunes is a killer feature as it has critical mass and works well.

    Even if companies come up with a better phone, MP3 player, iPod Touch (portable gaming device) or iPad style reader, then they still don't have iTunes for apps, music, portable games or books.

    Apple iPod Touch seem to nibbling away at PSP and Nintendo DS marketshare as far as I see, but the Apple TV has pretty much failed.

    Sony are too big for Apple to buy, but I always thought Apple having a deal with Sony for the Playstation division would be interesting; the PS3 is a nice living room box with grunt to burn, but Sony don't do the fully integrated stack and smooth UI like Apple do. A PS3/PS4 that runs an Apple OS and downloads movies, games and apps from iTunes would be an interesting beast, as it would be cheap to make, and high profit for Apple.

    But, sadly, I think if Apple can make the iPad a success, then it might be cheaper for them to port the iPhone OS to cell or there own CPU powered son-of-AppleTV for in-house gaming. The PS3, Xbox360 and Wii are all starting to look a little long in the tooth, so could be interesting timing in the next couple of years to hit the home multi-media gaming machine market.

  45. shawnfromnh

    real estate

    Though most of the real estate in the US is still WAYYYY over valued there are still massive amounts of really cheap quality deals out there. Could be huge profits if they were willing to wait a year or so for the market to rebound.

  46. Jorge Lopez

    Please buy SEGA!

    Apple should buy SEGA and then publish the games on their iDevices. There is a ton to be made in that realm. I am not talking about going head to head with Sony or MS games for Windows. I am talking about preserving the iPhone games platform, iPad games platform, maybe introducing "light" games for the AppleTV and going head to head with Nintendo.

    They do not need to "make" a console because they already have one with the iDevices. All they need to do now is make first party games and they are set.

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters


    He wants to make his own silicon.

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo

    Steve Jobs...

    Is just a mean greedy bastard.

  49. Robert E A Harvey
    Jobs Halo

    with that sort of money

    he could lunch in Zurich for a week

  50. Tondalicious

    My prognostication?

    Apple buys Sony.

    There. I said it.

    Sony would bring him great technologies, patents, R&D...and his own manufacturing.

    Above and beyond that, getting Sony would get him Sony Pictures Entertainment. Jobs already owns a sizeable chunk of Disney, so he would be controlling huge production and content for iTunes.

    They'd also get the PlayStation - to open up the gaming platform channels.

    He could also pump iPhone technologies and iTunes through SonyEricsson phones to create a 'competitor' for low-end handsets.

    LOL...well, it's a wild guess, but wouldn't it be a Chilean sized Earthquake !?

  51. popa

    Invest in Future Energy Sources

    With oil running out he should Invest in future energy sources. Two things he could do to further that end:

    (1) invest in a prototype fusion reactor

    (2) support development of a commercial launch vehicle to replace the Shuttle. Obama would welcome this idea with open arms. In fact he's as much as said so. He believes heavy lift vehicles belong in the private sector as does mining on the moon. NASA should be doing exploration and science.

    There is a synergy between these two since helium-3, the idea fuel for a fusion reactor, is plentiful on the moon.

  52. Usko Kyykka

    Well ...

    ... maybe this is a war chest like Microsoft used to (?) have. Come to think of it, Microsoft is the likely enemy too, because Apple might be growing from a convenient excuse for competition to a real issue. Apple could e.g. be pondering releasing a version of OS X for the general public now that it, in fact, is a Intel/PC OS.

  53. Ascylto
    Jobs Halo

    I can help.

    I'll send him my name and address.

  54. Jellyjazz

    Next Gen OS

    I think one of their next moves is a port of OSX for PC.

    Think of migratory animals, this could be called OSX ORCA!

    This will not be to take on Microsoft, but to help counter their newfound nemesis, Google.

  55. Faster Better Greener

    Orbital beyond-taxation megaservers?

    Take cloud computing above the clouds? What do massive sheds full of servers generate? Heat, which needs to be dissipated, controlled and managed. So why not spend a couple of billion developing the launch capacity to ferry modular clusters up into geostationary orbit? Infinite free cooling available.

    (Yes, also agree with earlier poster that Feds would probably JV into the launch vehicle venture by pre-contracting a given volume/mass of load-lift for a couple of decades to come, enabling NASA spend to be focussed tightly on science. Guesstimate: every Apple $ leverages one Fed $??)

    Real reason for going off-planet? Not the cooling - naaah. Major attraction would be all iTunes transactions taking place outside every terrestrial tax jurisdiction.

    Calc: iTunes to date. 10 billion transactions at a (rough) average of $1. Tax rate (say, conservatively, 10%). Rate of download and average price of each transaction will increase from current curve to (say) 5bn per year at $2. New calc result = 1bn a year in tax avoided on iTunes transactions alone.

    Then the real benefits start to flow. How much of Apple's worldwide total sales (not just iTunes, but entire web sales) could move from mere tax havens to the tax heavens above?

    As a purely back of envelope estimate, if the tax bill avoided is of the order of $5bn per annum, then the venture will probably stack up.

    And PS, forget rockets. Lean and clean space elevator technology will do the lift. Simply spin a 22,000 mile column of nanofibre. Major solar generator at the top to anchor it. Use the energy to power a maglev crawler to take stuff up the pole. Tech currently all in place, but nobody has brought all the bits together and commercialised it. Now wait - isn't there a company that's very good at taking other people's technology developments and turning them into product....?

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