You're the CEO: How would you spend Apple's $25 billion?

Summary:Apple revealed in its Q4 2008 earnings conference call that the company currently has US$25 billion in cash and no debt. Steve Jobs mentioned that its cash supply allows it to invest in R&D during an economic downturn and that the company created the Apple retail store during the last downturn.

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Apple revealed in its Q4 2008 earnings conference call that the company currently has US$25 billion in cash and no debt. Steve Jobs mentioned that its cash supply allows it to invest in R&D during an economic downturn and that the company created the Apple retail store during the last downturn.Sanford Bernstein's Toni Sacconaghi quipped that "I think you could hire almost every engineer in Silicon Valley on a lifetime employment contract and not really dent that significant cash horde that you have." Sacconaghi followed that by asking Jobs "are you suggesting that there are significant opportunities for Apple outside of Apple, specifically in terms of acquiring companies?"

Jobs replied "I just meant exactly what I said, which is I think there’s going to be some significant opportunities. I think hiring every engineer is Silicon Valley is a good idea, though. Thanks."But seriously, what could Apple do with its US$25 billion in cash?

Fortune's Philip Elmer-DeWitt notes that Apple could buy Dell (current market cap. US$23.5 billion).

Although Jobs said that the livingroom (meaning Apple TV) will "still be a hobby in 2009" I think that he's playing his cards close to his vest because he doesn't want to tip off the competition.

Apple should use a little of its cash to:

  1. Acquire TiVO, the fledgling DVR pioneer has been decimated by flush cable companies giving away DVRs to all their customers. This would allow Apple to turn the Apple TV into the DVR that we all want it to be.
  2. Acquire Pandora and re-brand it Genius or somesuch.
  3. Acquire Last.fm while they're at it.
  4. Acquire Hulu.com, which may be tough because it has the backing of NBC and Fox (which is owned by the News Corp.)

If you could dip into El Jobso's bank account what would you spend Apple's money on?

(Photo: AppleGazette)

Topics: Enterprise Software, Apple, CXO, Hardware, IT Employment, Mobility

About

Jason D. O'Grady developed an affinity for Apple computers after using the original Lisa, and this affinity turned into a bona-fide obsession when he got the original 128 KB Macintosh in 1984. He started writing one of the first Web sites about Apple (O'Grady's PowerPage) in 1995 and is considered to be one of the fathers of blogging.... Full Bio

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