Fantasizing about how Apple could spend its $117 billion cash mound leads to one astounding conclusion: The company has more money than it could ever spend—even if it went on an extravagant tech company shopping spree. Following Apple's acquisition of AuthenTec for what DealBook's Andrew Ross Sorkin calls "a price equal to pocket lint," Sorkin made a list for other potential companies Apple could buy up with the rest of its money. Even if the iPhone maker bought Twitter, Path, Square, BlackBerry maker Research in Motion, speech recognition company Nuance, and Sprint, that would rack up a $97 billion bill, "give or take a billion," leaving the company "$20 billion in the bank for walking-around money." Conclusion: Apple is incomprehensibly rich.
Yet, so far, it's also very frugal. Other than that "pocket lint" purchase, the only move CEO Tim Cook has made with that money went to a stock buyback program and dividends. The stock buyback cost somewhere in the $10 billion range and the dividends another $9.9 billion annually, according to Yahoo Finance's Chris Nichols. Guess that takes care of the extra $20 billion in walking around money.