Apple Facts That Will Blow Your Mind

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.

Bravo, Apple.

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Eric Bleeker owns shares of no companies listed above. The Motley Fool owns shares of Clorox, Google, Microsoft, and Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Google, Microsoft, and Apple and creating bull call spread positions in Microsoft and Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On January 30, 2012, at 11:20 AM, TMFNewCow wrote:

    Clearly, that's because bleach technology evolves at an accelerating pace far exceeding that of mobile consumer devices.

    If Clorox falls asleep at the wheel, Colgate-Palmolive and Procter & Gamble would have a field day.

    -- Evan

  • Report this Comment On January 30, 2012, at 12:12 PM, slpmn wrote:

    $98 billion in cash? Dividend, anyone?

  • Report this Comment On January 30, 2012, at 12:49 PM, oregonpb wrote:

    With growth like they have had do they need to pay a dividend? People will invest for the expected return anyway.. If in a year or two they hit a rough patch and aren't able to innovate like in the past 10 years then I'd think its dividend time. I'd be concerned once they do start a dividend though, does it mean they think they aren't going to ~grow?

  • Report this Comment On January 30, 2012, at 2:31 PM, setht23 wrote:

    @oregonpb

    I understand the idea of what you're saying, but what could Apple possibly do with $98 billion in cash? Acquistions are the only way they could spend it all besides share buybacks or dividends and I'm sincerely hope Apple doesn't go down that road.

  • Report this Comment On January 30, 2012, at 4:31 PM, slpmn wrote:

    Now that Jobs is dead, I would be surprised if Apple didn't start paying a dividend within the next year or two. Jobs was like a survivor of the great depression - he lived through a period when Apple very nearly went under and had to be rescued by Microsoft, of all horrors. He probably vowed "never again."

    But, like Kahuna says, it's completely irresponsible not to pay a dividend with that cash pile. Hoarding the cash is no way to maximize shareholder return. They could pay out 80% of it and the EPS wouldn't change, the ROE would improve instantly, shareholders would be able to reinvest as they see fit (who knows, maybe use it to buy more Apple), and the company would still have more cash than they need. If they want to make an acquisition, they should be financing most of it with debt given current borrowing costs.

  • Report this Comment On February 03, 2012, at 12:09 PM, BluegrassInNYC wrote:

    Is it unreasonable to expect that Apple would take a portion of that cash to bring some jobs back to the U.S. and/or correct the deplorable conditions at Foxconn? This issue came to light over 5 years ago and Apple has addressed it with sham investigations. $98 bn should be enough cash to tell any one of their suppliers that they will move that portion of manufacturing to the U.S. if they don't clean up their act. The good will that this would generate for Apple would offset the costs. But maybe I'm over-estimating the American consumer, who will continue to look the other way as long as Apple keeps making the coolest devices on the planet.

  • Report this Comment On February 03, 2012, at 4:06 PM, divybuy wrote:

    How much of the money is oversseas? It would be costly for Apple to 'bring it home.'

  • Report this Comment On February 03, 2012, at 10:48 PM, 650nm wrote:

    here's an idea: strike a deal with the US government that they can repatriate their overseas profits with 'only' a 10% tax, so long as they use that money to build factories in the US... and without some kind of BS state/local tax incentives to go along with it.

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