We know about the history of disrupting innovation from the Mac to the iPad, from iPod and iTunes, to iPhone and App Store. Yet, despite the riches and history, there’s one area where Apple comes up mostly blank; where creativity is thin, and innovation is typical, not exceptional.
Embarrassment Of Riches
Our favorite Cupertino company has it all. Fame, glory, riches, hundreds of millions of adoring customers willing to stand in line to buy the latest and greatest glitter gadgets.
Apple’s current stock price, a few hundred points below the high of a couple of years ago, reflects the company’s lack of imagination, creativity, and product marketing innovation.
How so? Apple just doesn’t know what to do with the money its made from Mac, iPhone, and iPad profits.
Seriously? Yes. Very. Seriously. Apple invests money in R&D. Apple helps to secure product components at most favorable nation status. Apple pays employees and executives well.
Apple is trying to be a green corporate citizen. Apple buys companies which have technology that can be used in future products.
When it comes to spending $150-billion in profits, Apple comes up empty. All the company can figure out what to do with all those riches is to throw it in the sky– buy its own stock, or give some cash dividends to very undeserving-if-not-overly-greedy shareholders (who, by the way, have done absolutely zero, zilch, nada to deserve a payload dividend).
Relative to the hoard of cash Apple sits upon, the money spent on acquisitions pales in significance. Apple makes money so fast that even after spending tens of billions on dividends and stock buybacks, the company still sits on nearly $150-billion.
Apple just doesn’t know what to do with all that money. Where’s the creativity? Where’s the innovation? Where’s the clever and unexpected use of riches so vast that even the U.S. Treasury is jealous?
Apple creates great products we know, love, and are eager to buy. If all Apple’s high-priced executives and board members can figure out what to do with said riches is buy stock and give out dividends, then creativity and innovation just are not what they used to be.
I have some ideas. How about customer dividends. Apple, send me a check for $500 to be used on my next Mac purchase. How about a check for $500 for my next iPad. That would put some cash into the economy– 2,000,000 $500 checks to loyal customers amounts to a mere $1-billion. Multiply that times ten and you’d still have more money than most nations.
Get creative, Apple. If you can’t figure out something productive to do with all those riches, then share the wealth with Apple customers.