Apple’s balance of more than $97 billion in cash and investments is back in the news today, with CEO Tim Cook saying at the company’s annual meeting that the money is “more than we need to run a company.”
“The board and management team are thinking about this very deeply,” Cook said.
The big question is whether Apple will pay a dividend, which would be the company’s first since 1995. Talking about the issue during a recent conference call with analysts, Cook didn’t give any concrete hints about Apple’s plans, but promised that the money wouldn’t be squandered.
“We are not going to throw a toga party here,” he said at the time.
So how does Apple’s cash balance compare to other tech companies? We crunched some numbers from the earnings reports of Microsoft, Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon.com, as compiled in these charts.
At this point, Apple has almost twice as much in cash and investments as its dividend-paying rival Microsoft, whose balance is $51.7 billion. Google and Microsoft combined have $96.3 billion on hand, still not equaling Apple’s pile.
Of course, Apple’s reserves also dwarf those of the industry youngster, Facebook, which had $3.9 billion in cash and investments as of Dec. 31.
But check out our chart at right, showing the (mostly just for fun) measure of cash per employee.
Because Facebook’s headcount is so much smaller (with a mere 3,200 employees) it compares extremely favorably to its larger rivals here, with cash equalling more than $1.2 million per employee.
Amazon is on the low end of both charts, with a balance of cash and investments of $9.5 billion.