Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL ) just wrapped up one of the most incredible quarters in American business history. There are so many things that can be said about the quarter, but one of the easiest ways to get a grasp just how incredible Apple's success has been is putting it into context.
Here are some stats about Apple that are simply mind blowing.
Apple's cash pile
Apple now has $97.6 billion in cash. Last year the company increased its cash hoard by nearly $38 billion. That means Apple was adding $1,200 to its cash pile every second.
In GDP terms, Apple's cash pile alone would make it the 58th largest country. That's ahead of global hot spots Iraq and Libya while just trailing Qatar, a country with enough economic clout that it was selected to host a World Cup. Maybe we could look forward to a 2026 World Cup in Cupertino?
At its current Forbes valuations, Apple could buy every single NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL team -- and still have $31 billion left in the bank.
Of course, the numbers really get crazy if Apple hits expectations and keeps adding to its cash pile in the quarters ahead.
- After next quarter, Apple's cash hoard will be able to pay the entire total the federal government's costs for education in a year.
- In two quarters, Apple's cash hoard will be able to pay for the inflation-adjusted cost of the Marshall Plan ($115 billion).
- By the end of next year, Apple's cash hoard will be larger than all of the corporate taxes America collected in 2009 ($138 billion)!
Apple's amazing performance
Apple's total profits were more than Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG ) entire sales last quarter. And the two numbers weren't even close, either; Apple's profit of $13.1 billion was 23% larger than Google's total sales.
Remember when Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT ) "bailed" Apple out in 1997? Apple's profit last quarter was 20 times greater than how much money Microsoft's "monopoly" was making at the time.
Apple sold about 17 million more phones in 2011 than in the previous four years combined.
While the iPhone accounts for 53% of Apple's sales, Apple's other products were no slouches, either. Last quarter, the iPad (15.4 million units) outsold all of Hewlett-Packard's (NYSE: HPQ ) computer sales (15.1 million). Tablet sales overtook desktop PC sales in the United States.
Apple's market cap ($417 billion) would make it the 24thlargest country in the world in terms of GDP. That's right below oil giant Saudi Arabia.
How unexpected were the unbelievable numbers Apple posted? The company had sales last quarter that were more than $7 billion higher than analysts expected. That's greater than the total sales of all but 22 technology companies -- and there are more than 7,000 publicly traded tech companies.
Perhaps the most incredible stat of all is how Apple does all this in such an efficient way. Apple spent only 1.6% of sales last quarter on research and development. That's a lower percentage than Clorox, a 98-year-old company that makes bleach.
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