What should Apple Inc do with so much extra cash?
The first thing I would like them to do is to invest a bit more money into their development. Maybe someone at Apple could figure out how to put two USB-C ports on a MacBook, or four USB-C/Thunderbolt ports on a 13-inch MacBook (without the touch bar gimmick - which I'd be pleased to see removed completely)? Or perhaps three USB-C/Thunderbolt ports and an SD-Card reader? (Something that every YouTuber talks about).
Once they have got that mastered, maybe the designers of all their products could sit down together and decide what their strategy for i/o ports is... Every device to have USB-C/Thunderbolt? Headphone jacks? Or no headphone jacks?
Apple have a reputation for having an ecosystem that works well together, but that seems to be an afterthought at the moment.
Then, maybe Apple could consider lowering their prices. I'm sure they would easily increase their market share... There are lots of people who like Apple products, but who cannot afford some/all of them that would prefer to own. This would also increase the profitability of the App Store.
Lowering prices would also help to increase their market share in other sectors (e.g. education). Getting more students to be more familiar/comfortable with macOS than Windows would increase their profits for generations to come.
Of course, they would need to increase their manufacturing to do this. But why not? They have the money!
It's not their cash. And it is not "extra." It belongs to the shareholders, and props up the stratospheric stock price.
It can do one of three things to appease shareholders.
- Buy back stock to reduce number of outstanding shares
- Issue a dividend
- Invest in something that will increase dividends to shareholders
I presume you are asking about #3.
I would suggest they bolster their iCloud offer to increase lock-in on their platforms. They are already doing this with the greater Yosemite and iOS 8 integration. If they can really get iLife right and get a new generation hooked on the integrated mobile office suite, that will become the preferred document creation paradigm for the mobile generation. Google is a formidable competitor here, but they need to focus on what they do best: User Experience.
The back end platform and related software and cloud integration will be the control point for superior experience as increasingly cheap (and better) phone and tablet hardware floods the market.
I'm an Apple guy. Sure, I own Microsoft and Linux products, too, but I am typing this on my MacBook, own iPhones, iPads, and even an iRouter. My views may be a bit biased.
There were rumors that Apple wanted to start developing content ala Netflix and HBO. I think Apple would be better served by buying an existing and established company like Netflix rather than trying to develop their own. Buying Disney productions might be an interesting idea, but that's only if Apple intends to produce content.
In general, I am in favor of companies staying within their area of expertise or at least something tangential. For Apple, that means hardware and operating systems. Clearly, Apple is best in breed, so competition is lesser quality. Also, the Feds would not allow any kind of monopoly in computing, so buying a major competitor is not likely.
Some have mentioned Tesla, but Apple has no expertise in building cars. Tesla has potential, but it is hard to see Elon Mosk giving up his creation.
More dividends would be nice for shareholders and since Apple has over $260 billion in cash at this time (August 2017). That's enough to buy Walmart or AT&T or Oracle outright. Most of its cash is also off-shore - 94%, according to CSNBC.
During Steve Jobs leadership, Apple was the innovator - the company that created products we didn't know we needed until Apple made them. Tim Cook, while a qualified CEO, isn't the visionary that Jobs was. Apple needs to innovate again and invent products that are new, exciting, and must-have items.
Perhaps AR, VR, and AI are Apple's best bet for the future. It will be interesting to see what Apple comes up with next.
Pay their employees enough to match the salaries at Facebook etc. that are nearly DOUBLE that of Apple.
Product manager at apple: 180k (But mom, they said I would be rich as a product manager. Mom: It's ok sweetie, have some breakfast bars...extra chocolate. Apple employee: thanks!)
Product manager at Facebook: 400k. (Hey, does anyone know a good Ferrari dealer? Apple employee: for who? Facebook PM: Me. Apple: WAAAH. Goes home and eats breakfast bars with extra chocolate.
they should launch a comedy channel - they only host other entertainment, but with their power they should get big comedic acts and actors to make skits and called "How Do You Like them Apples".
They should simply pay everyone more and make the attractiveness of the jobs high only the best come to apple, and they get rich as a result, and the products are better thus continuum.
Well.... the typical response from shareholders is to issue dividends and give it back to investors.
The typical answer from employees is to increase salaries, give out bonuses and increase R&D to keep the future pipeline of innovative products full.
The typical response from senior management, which holds huge stock option bonuses is to buy back stock which has the tendency to increase the stock price and make their options worth a lot.
So there ya have it. All depends on your perspective.