How to spend a $100 billion: Ask Apple

Scott Tong Mar 19, 2012

Stacey Vanek-Smith: Apple has just announced it’s going to give back to shareholders. The company is sitting on $98 billion dollars in cash and has been trying to decide what it will do with the money. And it decided it will pay shareholders a dividend.

Marketplace’s Scott Tong has more.


Scott Tong: Apple’s cash sits in the bank next to yours and mine, earning maybe 1 percent – not a great situation. So it’s rewarding investors by giving some back via dividend: $2.65 per share. That also lures new investors – some funds only buy companies that pay dividends.

Michael Levin at Consumer Intelligence Research Partners sees this as a change at Apple. Late founder Steve Jobs was not a dividend guy.

Michael Levin: Steve Jobs was famously indifferent to investors. He followed his own gut, and did what he wanted, both in corporate finance and also in product design.

Apple execs said its brand new iPad had a record first weekend. And it seems each day brings a new cheerleader. But Neil Mawston at Strategy Analytics says beware: it’s a fast-changing industry.

Neil Mawston: It will only take one innovation from another company to upset the apple cart and things could change quickly.

Remember, he says, Nokia and Motorola were declared the kings not long ago.

In Washington I’m Scott Tong for Marketplace.

We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.