Yes, Apple has some debt, and has forked over tens of billions to greedy shareholders (because Tim Cook can’t figure out what to do with it all) but the company remains rich beyond compare. What is Apple to do with all that money?
Give It, Keep It, Use It
That sums it up. Apple gives some to the shareholders. Apple keeps and sits upon a huge chunk of what is left over. And the company uses money.
What Apple doesn’t do with all that cash is buy big companies. Google bought Motorola. Microsoft bought Skype and Nokia. Yahoo bought Tumblr.
Those purchases cost billions and haven’t brought much to the bottom line of the buyers. Apple, as always, thinks different.
Apple either buys more of itself in stock buybacks, or it grabs up smaller companies which fit the company’s strategic plans.
A few years ago Apple bought P.A. Semi for nearly $300-million. Now Apple designs unique customizations into ARM chips to power iPhone and iPad.
A few years later, Apple bought Authentec for just over $350-million. Now Apple has the Touch ID fingerprint security system in the iPhone 5S.
Apple goes out and buys companies and a few years later we see what the integration beget. The company bought a number of mapping companies and now Apple Maps is competitive with Google Maps (and, in some ways, better).
What’s different about Apple’s buyouts when compared to Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, and most other companies, is obvious. Apple doesn’t spend as much money. Apple isn’t buying a customer base or revenue stream. But a few years later new features emerge which keep Apple’s products completely differentiated from the competition.
That Was Then, This Is Now
It doesn’t take much rubbing on the crystal ball to get an idea of where Apple is going these days. The company has invested hundreds of millions into Liquidmetal and sapphire manufacturing.
Earlier this year Apple bought Passif Seminconductor, a maker of low power wireless chips.
Already the MacBook Air can get 12 hours of battery life. What about next year?
Not long ago Apple forked over another $350-million for PrimeSense, the company that developed the highly touted motion-sensing technology which is the heart of Microsoft’s Xbox Kinect controller.
Will a next generation Mac, Apple TV, iPhone, or iPad be watching your every move? Literally? Apple has money and Apple spends money. But Apple doesn’t spend money the same way as Google, Microsoft, and company.