Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Apple's Cash: No Dividends, No Stock Buybacks, Or Acquisitions Just Because Apple Can

“There will be a special guest…” is the only thing that is mentioned on the invitation for Apple’s 2025 special event.  And on the day of the keynote, Tim Cook goes on stage and tells everyone just how Apple just added another $30 billion in cash just in the last quarter.  He makes a joke about how a Starbucks grande latte now costs $15 and money ain’t what it used to be and receive a chuckle from the audience.

Then he said that Apple has been working on something really special and it would change just about every industry and market in the world – military, labor, and even education.  Audience is quiet, on the edge of their seat, all waiting in anticipation.  They expect Tim Cook to bring on Phil Schiller to unveil this next Apple product.  But he doesn’t. Tim goes on to talk about the industrial revolution and the automobile and then it’s about the telephone and personal computer.  He spoke fondly about the old iOS devices – iPhones and iPads.  And he finally touched on the revolution that wearable gadgets that Apple ushered in and bring new meaning to the “roaring 20s”.

He gets cheers and whistles from the audience.

“Today, the next revolution.” The audience is expecting the holodeck like those in Star Trek.  That’s what the rumor sites were all talking about.

“Let me bring out a special guest who will help Apple step into the next life-changing revolution…”

A spotlight shines on a dark spot on the stage and the audience gasps.  Standing there is Steve Jobs. A young Steve Jobs of about the same age as he was when he introduced the MacIntosh.  In fact, he looked identical to 1984 Steve Jobs, right down to the suit and bow tie.

““Hello, I am Steve Jobs, the first iRobot – an advanced cybernetic humanoid. An android, not the OS.  It sure is great to get out of that lab.” - once again, the crowd goes wild and the Internet grinds to a crawl because of hundreds of millions following live blogs of the event.

Obviously, it’s a scifi piece I just sort of thought up to make my point about Apple’s cash.  And that’s what I want Apple to do with its $100 billion in cash - to disrupt, to change the world.  Tim Cook and his team has a rare opportunity to have such a vast resource available to them.  No other individual or company has this kind of resource.  No government either.

Why squander it on what clueless Wall Street analysts and fund managers want, which is dividends, stock buybacks, or large acquisitions.

I say no to dividends and stock buybacks and making only sensible acquisitions like Anobit. Apple should continue to horde that cash and to use it wisely to continue to revolutionize and disrupt industries, markets, and our lives for the better.

If you’re a company with $20 to $30 billion, you save that for a rainy day.  If you’ve got $40-60 billion, you go to war against your competitors 

With $100+ billion, you’d use that to change the world.

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