John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Apple Dividend More Likely Than $100 Billion Toga Party

Will Apple ever return some of its growing cash pile to investors? Can shareholders expect a dividend, now that the company has amassed nearly $100 billion in cash and marketable securities?

Maybe.

That was the gist of Apple CEO Tim Cook’s remarks on the issue on Tuesday, at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference. According to Cook, Apple’s cash holdings are top of mind at the company. “We’re in very active discussions at the board level on what we should do,” he said, adding that careful consideration is the guiding principle here. “We are not going to run out and have a toga party.”

“We are judicious in our spending,” Cook said. “We are deliberate. We spend our money like it is our last penny. … I think shareholders want us to do that. They don’t want us to act like we are rich.”

Of course. But many shareholders wouldn’t mind if Apple were to issue a dividend. Surely a meaningful one-time payment like that would have little impact to the company’s earnings or cash flow these days. And Apple hasn’t paid a dividend since December of 1995.

Seventeen years is a long time.

So, can investors expect a dividend announcement at Apple’s annual shareholder meeting on Feb. 23?

Impossible to say, but read what you will into Cook’s final comment on the issue:

“I’d be the first to admit we have more cash than we need to run the daily business. So we’re actively discussing it. I only ask for a bit of patience, so we can do it in a way that’s best for the shareholders.”


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik