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Summary:

With $100B in cash, there have been quite a few whispers about an Apple dividend, starting when Tim Cook officially become CEO. But after years of wishful thinking on the part of longtime investors in Apple, it’s starting to look like it could actually happen soon.

cash money

There has long been talk that Apple would — or should — someday pay a dividend to its investors. Such talk got more serious when Tim Cook stepped into the CEO role last fall. And now, it looks like this wishful thinking by Apple shareholders might come to fruition. Here’s why:

  • Apple has almost $100 billion in cash now.
  • Cook told investors and reporters late last year he wasn’t “religious” about holding cash, a subtle but important difference in the attitude Steve Jobs has long had about Apple’s cash holdings.
  • CFO Peter Oppenheimer shared several weeks ago that the company is “actively discussing” what to do with all that money.
  • People who could be in a position to know are starting to talk openly about it.

A UBS analyst says Apple has been soliciting opinions from investors on what to do with the money. We all know what investors want Apple to do:  give it back to shareholders.

And on Monday, Fortune editor Adam Lashinsky, author of the just-released (and excellent) Inside Apple, writes that we should expect to hear about AAPL owners getting a dividend “sooner rather than later.” As someone who’s demonstrated he knows a thing or two about what goes on inside 1 Infinite Loop, this is yet another good indication Apple is thinking differently about its money these days. As Lashinsky points out, what else will they do with it?:

[W]hat’s becoming increasingly clear is that Apple has a success problem on its hands: It has run out of ways to responsibly spend its profits. It has never done what any other big company would view as a major acquisition. Silicon Valley investment bankers desperately would like to see Apple acquire Twitter, for example. But this would be so contrary to the Apple acquisition mindset that it’s hard to imagine.

Apple’s annual shareholder meeting is coming up on February 23. These kinds of meetings can be somewhat of a snooze. Perhaps this year edition will have a few fireworks.

  1. Hey Randy-
    Enjoyed the party and ping ping. Thanks again. Thought you might find this article interesting. If Apple issues a dividend, this will no doubt drive the stock higher. Talk later
    Billy G

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  2. I thought I read of the almost 100 billion in cash and short term securities they had on the books, 60 + billion was overseas and subject to tax if brought back to the US. This could make the case for not bringing it back, and if the do give stockholders a dividend they will need to pay tax, something the very wealthy pay a lot of attention to.

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  3. Rudolf Joubert Monday, February 6, 2012

    If anything, I think Apple will use the money to focus even more on integrating Hardware and Software.

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  4. yes. its DEAD MONEY otherwise. same with google’s mountain of cash. this is potential energy siphoned from the economy. at some level, these piles of cashed should be taxed heavily if the companies won’t invest. the message is simple: put the money back into the economy or the govt will. think of how many startups apple could fund with a measely $10 billion, a tenth of their reserves.

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  5. Apple, as an enterprise has grown multifold in the last 10 years. The introduction of the iPod after recovering from cancer by Mr Jobs will surely go down as one of the important events in tech’s history. All electronic devices brought about change after that. Lots of other companies (even sony) tried to copy Apple’s products because of its unique UI and sleek look.
    A similar thing happened with the development of iPhone, the iPad and now the iMat.
    I guess its time Apple issued some dividends to its investors as without them they wouldn’t have been able to realize these dreams.

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  6. Sure, Apple is ready to issue a dividend. And the reasons are all clear. It will definitely drive the stock higher.

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  7. I have held Apple stock since before the iPod was released, from when they even thought it would go under. Alas I have so few shares… But they did split ONCE. I want a split or at least a long term dividend for my patience and loyalty. I want to buy more shares but at their current price, I can’t manage more than a few a year….

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  8. With inflation closer to 10% then Gov. Lies of 2%.
    If I were Apple, I would be buying as many commodity components as possible.
    If you want to keep prices down against your competitors.

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  9. Leave it to analysts, bloggers & investors to get it WRONG, every time! Apple’s doing fine the way they are! Apple doesn’t need to manipulate their stock-price or create “quick” earnings for their shareholders. They create value for their stock with the amazing products they create & sell. If investors want to earn money from Apple, then they should sell their stocks or buy more!

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    1. Leave it to fanboy fools to think that Apple can ever make use of the cash on its balance sheet. The only reasonable thing it can do is begin paying dividends. It’s earning only< reasonable use of Apple's cash.

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