15 things Apple could buy with its $137B cash reserve

15 things Apple could buy with its $137B cash reserve

Summary: Apple has $137.1 billion in cash, but more than two-thirds of it remains off-shore and outside of the U.S. taxman's reach. What could Apple spend all that cash on? We've got some suggestions.


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  • Pay tuition for one-quarter of all U.S. students

    There are 21.6 million U.S. college students, according to the U.S. Dept. of Education, and the average student loan debt of borrowers in the 'class of 2011' is $26,500, says The New York Times.

    Slam the two figures together and Apple could, even with its huge pile of cash, still fall short of paying off every U.S. college student's debts. However, the technology giant could pay off around $6,347, or roughly 24 percent, of each student's debt.

    Or, if the company could pick and choose, such as all those who received a high grade (GPA), Apple could pay off the college debt of about one-quarter of the total U.S. college population.

  • Buy and build an entire city

    The median U.S. house price is about $195,050, based on figures from the Northeast, the Midwest, the South and the West coast. Of course, some areas of the country are far higher and far lower than other places, but this—after all—is just a bit of fun. 

    Take the median U.S. house price and build as many houses with Apple's cash pile of $137.1 billion, and you can buy 7,028 702,896 houses. Because building a house costs far less than, the number of houses will likely be significantly higher, by at least 20 percent by rough calculations. That could bump the figure up to 8,433 843,475 homes.

    After many hours researching this, there's no one definition of how large a town or city should be, but around 10,000 people seems to be the rough benchmark. Compared to New York City or San Francisco, the numbers fall far below their many millions, but it's still wouldn't be a bad effort by Apple if it decided to go down this route.

    Correction: One reader points out that indeed it's 702,896 houses, rather than a 'meager' 7,028. Indeed, Apple could built an entire 'city', rather than just a 'town.'

  • Build an Apple-branded space station

    And back into space again. NASA budgeted $58.7 billion for the International Space Station from 1985 to 2015, which due to inflation and other factors, increased to $72.4 billion in 2010 dollars—a 23 percent increase over around 25 years.

    All in all, however, the International Space Station cost around $150 billion, but that includes the 36 shuttle flights at $1.4 billion each, adding $50.4 billion to the final figure.

    Apple doesn't have quite that much, but if Apple were to create its own version of the International Space Station, it probably wouldn't need as many flights to and from the station. It's fair to say that to build it, launch it up in separate parts, and get iAstronauts in there as well, the company could probably just stretch it.

Topic: Apple

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  • Buy Microsoft

    Two companies, both struggling to adapt their legacy technologies to the post-PC era: they're made for each other, don't you think?
    • Re: Buy Microsoft

      You know it makes sense. And they could unify their current fragmented efforts to fight Android.

      Who knows, they might even stand a chance.
    • Microsoft is a poor investment...

      Microsoft have alienated and abandoned the people who made Microsoft the desktop standard over decades - power users. This is the beginning of the end for them. Post PC, Microsoft is going to swap market share with Apple and Android. As their lucrative OEM contracts expire, and desktop PC sales continue to decline, companies will examine their alternatives more closely. The masses of people who only use a tablet now don't care about running Windows applications. They'll just buy the tablet with the biggest ecosystem of hardware and software. They'll go for long battery life and storage. They won't care about desktop compatibility. Microsoft decided to make the desktop PC usable by simpletons right at the time when average users are switching away from desktop-centric usage scenarios. Shoehorning Windows Simpleton onto tablets just isn't the same as an OS designed for tablets from the start. It's fast, lean OS versus extremely FAT sluggish OS. Storage is a premium in tablets, so FAT OS = crippling OS.

      IMHO, Apple should use some of their cash reserves to design and manufacture a consumer friendly 3-D printer and software. They could completely own that fast-growing market in a year or two if they put their best people on it.
  • Buy Microsoft

    Two companies, both struggling to adapt their legacy technologies to the post-PC era: they're made for each other, don't you think?
    • Inwould say that Apple is thriving in the so called Pos PC Era.t

      That if anything Apple was "struggling" in the PC Era. Though I tend to doubt the whole Post PC ting anyway. Since every device mobile or otherwise is a computer and hence a PC.

      Pagan jim
      James Quinn
      • Re: Since every device mobile or otherwise is a computer and hence a PC.

        Apple and Microsoft do their best to hide that fact, though, by crippling multitasking, denying access to the filesystem, and tightly controlling the ability to develop software for them.

        Android is the only mobile platform that doesn't try to pretend it's not a computer.
        • Don't hink that is what is necessary for a device to be determined s

          computer. Just saying.....

          Pagan jim
          James Quinn
          • Re: Don't hink that is what is necessary for a device to be determined s

            In order to be called a "computer", it has to be able to do computery things. Just saying...
          • And they do... If you want just another computer well how dull can that be?

            Besides I don't know what you're problem is I can multi task with my iPad.

            Pagan jim
            James Quinn
          • Re: I can multi task with my iPad.

            Apple has a bunch of different ways of not-quite-multitasking in IOS. And they added a few more in later versions. None of which work as simply as standard POSIX processes and threads, which is what you get courtesy of the Linux kernel on Android.

            Like I said, Apple and Microsoft try to pretend their mobile devices are not really computers, Android doesn't.
          • Does it matter what you call it?

            That's just plain hinky, don't you hink? Or, it could be stinky. Or it could be hinkystinky. But it doesn't really matter what you call it, does it?
        • Android is malware by definition

          Provided by advertising and data mining giant Google. It is a platform people should stay clear off. But of course all of these free software and promises from Google are way to good to ignore.

          That you surrender your privacy and end up with a mediocre product, that does not perform and if you're lucky does not crash too often, that is taken for granted.
          • hmm...

            nice story troll.
          • Crack

            I am reminded of the strategy used by drug dealers in the 70's and 80's of giving away cocaine to kids and weak-minded adults to get them hooked (addicted), then raping them for all their money.

            P.S. Ignore @Naryan name calling. Facts confuse the afore mentioned adults.
          • Cool Story Bro.

            Some of us prefer to take that "control" back and root/jailbreak our phones giving us access to the aforementioned and without those annoying ads, but thanks for playing.
        • MS?

          Apple maybe but I can multitask just fine on my Win 8 tablet - I can also access the file system and develop software for it without issue - what are you talking about?
          • Re: I can multitask just fine on my Win 8 tablet

            Maybe you should buy two. That might help boost the sagging sales of Windows 8.
          • Talking to hear yourself talk?

            By the way, every time I see your username it looks like 1dio7, ijs
    • Hmm...

      Two companies struggling? Microsoft struggling to come out with a tablet, Apple struggling to figure out what to do with $137 billion.
      • Re: Apple struggling to figure out what to do with $137 billion.

        Depends on whether you think its business is technology or banking.