Just How Big Is Apple’s Cash Pile?

asymco-chart

Apple announced its cash stockpile had increased by another $6.1 billion (even after around $900 million for supplier prepayments and capital expenditures is taken out) as of the end of the company’s second fiscal quarter for 2011. That brings the company’s total for liquid assets, including cash and short- and long-term marketable securities, to around $65.8 billion. Market intelligence firm Asymco provided some insight Tuesday regarding what that number actually means in the context of Apple and its market position.

A $65.8 billion cash pool isn’t something that garners as much attention as new Macs, iPhones or iPads, but it’s one of Apple’s greatest strengths, and something none of its competitors can even approach. Here are some key takeaways from Asymco’s attempt to put things in perspective:

  • If Apple’s revenue streams stopped completely, current cash would keep operations going for more than seven years, or until mid-2018.
  • Apple’s cash pile represents about half of Google’s total enterprise value.
  • Cash-on-hand for Apple represents a greater worth than Nokia, RIM and Motorola Mobility’s market caps combined.
  • Apple’s single quarter cash growth was higher than the market cap of many companies, and just about matched Motorola Mobility’s with the $900,000 in pre-payments added back in to the total.
  • Apple has enough funds on hand to put the company’s CFO among the top 100 largest fund managers in the world, and above any single hedge fund manager.
I think the most important takeaway among those listed above is that Apple is unique among its competitors by ensuring it has time to recover in the case of any considerable missteps. A huge cash fund means that risks like the iPad, which no doubt was incredibly costly and time-consuming during the R&D phase, can be taken on without necessarily endangering the future of the company or Apple’s existing lines of business. After all, there’s nothing like a $65 billion safety net to encourage bold moves in product development and innovation.
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