Business Insider reports that Apple Computer has more available cash than the US government:
Here’s something to keep in mind as you follow this evening’s congressional debate over the debt ceiling.
According to the latest daily statement from the U.S. Treasury, the government had an operating cash balance of $73.8 billion at the end of the day yesterday.
Apple’s last earnings report (PDF here) showed that the company had $76.2 billion in cash and marketable securities at the end of June.
In other words, the world’s largest tech company has more cash than the world’s largest sovereign government.
Those who follow the technology world will be aware that, for a while now, Apple has been hoarding cash. The suggested reasons for this have been wide-ranging: Some have guessed that Apple has a big purchase in their sights (maybe Twitter); others that they seek to buy several of the companies who provide components from their hardware, thus bringing the entire production process in-house; and it has also been mooted that mercurial CEO Steve Jobs was so affected by the company’s brush with bankruptcy in the early 1990s that he is unwilling ever to be put in such a position again. Should the market turn down or the company be faced with an unexpected rainy day, it would be able to continue operating without any revenue for seven years.
What is more interesting, however, is that the “smart” analysis tends to be critical of the haul, falling back on the idea that cash is a liability, although the reasons for why this is the case are generally frustratingly vague. Such reserves look pretty good now, right?