OK, $65.8 billion.  So?

So that’s how much cash Apple ($AAPL) now has on its balance sheet according to their latest quarterly filing.  Earning almost nothing.  That’s double the $36 billion pile their rival Google ($GOOG) is sitting on.

A high class problem to have?  Sure, but a problem nonetheless. But what to do?  Stupid buybacks?  Even stupider one-time special dividend?  Regular dividends?  Acquisitions?

The company must be stumped because this has been going on for years now.

A recent DealBook item had some ideas from sell-side analysts.  The same guys who couldn’t forecast Apple’s earnings better than the kid who runs iPodblog.net.  Apple rarely does big deals, but the names Netflix ($NFLX) and Akamai ($AKAM) get batted around.  I don’t see that happening personally.

The company may finish 2011 with over $70 billion in cash at this rate.  At $50 billion it was cute, at this point the market is starting to penalize the company via a discount multiple.

So what will they do?  They could help save California, send Steve Jobs into space as humanity’s ambassador, go all Berkshire on us and start buying stakes in banks, buy Research in Motion ($RIMM) just to shut it down, take a stake in the New York Mets, build their own smart grid and power plant, buy Twitter and rename it Apple Fritter, load up on silver ingots and gold bullion…

I’m as stumped as Cupertino must be, perhaps the answer is to wait for their pitch.  It always comes in the end.




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