In something of a surprise move, Apple is set to make an early morning announcement regarding their ridiculous pile of cash. Specifically, just what they are or are not going to spend it on. There’s been plenty of speculation, impressive given the short time period available for such, and it sounds fun so let me jump in.
First, here’s the list of things they probably wont do:
- Buy a Telco. Even Apple can’t save them.
- Build a Death Star and point it at Google.
- Magically bring Chinese factories up to western standards.
- Start a space program.
- Buy a small country (though I hear Greece is a bargain these days)
In fact, I doubt they’ll announce anything regarding acquisitions of any kind, except maybe in vague terms. It takes two to tango, there have been no whispers and the SEC likes to get involved in these things. The few weeks they’ve apparently been conferring on this matter in an official way isn’t long enough to put something together either.
So what might they do? Something they are in total control of. That doesn’t leave much. Here are the options:
- “We’ve decided to do nothing at this time and pursue opportunities as we see them.”
- “We are issuing a one time dividend of $50-$100 a share.” (Spending between 50-100% of their reserves)
- “We are embarking on a program of stock repurchasing over the next year.” (Similar effect to dividend, but drives price up too)
I think that’s it. One of those three or some combination. As boring as that is. I’m always expecting Apple to surprise me though…
Update: Om Malik’s take on this matches my thoughts: freedom is power.
Update 2: Ok, so I was mostly right, except for the one time dividend. In retrospect that was a silly idea. Details at Ars Technica.