(By Marvin Clark) Now that the fever has broken in the market over the price of Apple (AAPL
) stock, it's on its way to test its 50 day moving average of $555. Probably, Steve Jobs has stopped spinning in his grave over how the cash buildup in his company will be desecrated sometime in Apple's fourth quarter through an announced dividend payment of $2.65 a share; let's discuss how Mr. Jobs might have approached the problem of too much cash. It's not too late.
We know what he did not do with Apple's cash. Paying the first dividend since 1995 was not an option or he would have done so while he was alive. Also, we know that he wasn't interested in buying another computer company. Why bother buying someone else's company, especially, if that company is inferior to the one you already own.
Steve Jobs was a riverboat gambler; he only played in the big casino of life. Hanging out with mental midgets and playing it safe (venturing out to the edges of pedantic MBA inculcation and foolish spreadsheets) only bore true Renaissance men busily changing the world. Before discussing what the right move could be let's review what Apple has always been and, hopefully, will remain so.
In my humble opinion, Apple was never a computer company in the traditional sense of the word; they were an industrial design company born at the end of the mass communication era. Computers became Apple's first object of desire just when society and culture leaped from a concentration of knowledge and information to segmentation and individuality. They displayed their affection for computers in this brave new world with a counter-culture homage alternative GUI (Graphical user interface) operating system to MS-Dos. Apple's next perpendicular act of defiance against establishment group thought was the creation of a mouse and a single box computer - Macintosh.
Apple's repeated success came from confronting complacent or flabby markets, myopic industries, and rescuing them and their customers from a future of indifference and mediocrity with radical ideas and borderless visions.
Apple Computer single handedly redefined the aesthetics, sensibilities, and most importantly, the functionality and simplicity of the personal computer; an alien household thing that one day would infiltrate our personal existence and daily lives much like a simple yet, unyielding, powerful idea.
I can recall in the early 1980's when technology journalists and critics wrote about, sincerely, why would anyone want a computer in their home? How would be used? Those were valid questions before social and multimedia; before there were podcast and Google, the Internet, and e-mail. Cable television was barely an infant when Apple began, but I digress.
Were Steve Jobs to seriously consider another opportunity outside of computers, summoning the magic and prowess of his industrial design mastery and vision, this he did in the music and video content distribution industries, the animation film industry, the personal data storage and PDA/mobile telecommunications device industries, the bottom line would be this: which industry can I make the greatest impact and receive the greatest enjoyment? I think Mr.