Just How Much Is Apple’s $137 Billion Cash Pile (Updated)

By William A. Foster, IV

“Cash is king.” – Unknown


It was last July that I first did this narrative. At the time Apple, Inc. was sitting on $117 billion and has since added another $20 billion to its coffers. This has stirred a mass of controversy amongst shareholders who believe the company is simply hoarding the cash that could be put to better use.

Let’s compare the amount of Apple’s cash holdings to a few things:

If divided over all 300 million men, women, and children in America – each would receive a check for $456.67.

If divided over the 40 million men, women, and children who are African American – each would receive a check for $3 425.00 (it should be noted that coming out of the Great Recession the African American median net worth was $2 170 according to the Economic Policy Institute).

It is 4.5 times the size of Harvard’s endowment (largest HWCU endowment and largest U.S. college endowment) and 297.8 times the size of Howard’s endowment (largest HBCU endowment). In July, those numbers for Harvard and Howard were 3.7 and 216.7 times their endowments, respectively.

It is 304.4 times the size of all HBCU research budgets combined. Previously, 265.9 times the size of HBCU research budgets.

It is 9.1 times the size of Jamaica’s GDP (previously 7.8 times) and 18.6 times the size Haiti’s GDP (previously 15.9).

It is 8.6% of Africa’s entire GDP (previously 6.2%).

This is not to take any particular shot at Apple. It just happens to be the company with the largest corporate cash holdings at the time. U.S. companies last year had a record $1.45 trillion in cash sitting outside of the U.S., according to Moody’s. It is 91% of the GDP of entire Africa and larger than the buying power of African America which is currently $1.1 trillion.

We’re talking “straight cash, homey” as Randy Moss said once.

Disclaimer: There is no ownership of any of the companies mentioned in this article by myself, my business, or my family as of this article’s publishing.


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