“What would I do? I’d shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders”.
That’s what Michael Dell, the CEO of Dell Inc. said in 1997, when asked how he would fix Apple, which was in dire straits then.
What he didn’t (and couldn’t) anticipate, was how Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple, who was ousted out a few years back, and returned as CEO only a few months before he made the statement, would completely change the computing and mobile landscape, and turn Apple into the juggernaut it once was, and even bigger.
Yesterday, Apple released its Q3 FY11 earnings results, and to be honest, they were mind-blowing. Apple’s results beat even the most bullish estimates on the street, and of course, its own guidance.
Its market cap is now close to $360 billion, more than 10 times Dell’s market cap. It is very likely that Apple may soon overtake Exxon Mobil to become the most valuable company in the world. My money is on that happening soon after the iPhone 5 launch, assuming that oil prices remain relatively stable.
But here’s the most interesting part – Apple now has almost $76.2 billion in cash reserves. That’s the biggest war chest of cash held by any company, ever. What’s even more interesting is that Apple can now buy Dell (market cap: $33 billion) using just its cash reserves. Twice over. Even then, it will still have $10 billion left in the bank.
Michael Dell may be regretting ever making that statement now, with Jobs having the last laugh.