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Apple "awash in cash" as Microsoft offers "buckets" to Zune developers

post #1 of 55
Thread Starter 
As debt-free Apple has accrued a massive $31.1 billion in cash and investments, Microsoft allegedly recently offered one developer "a bucket of money" to write software for the new Zune HD.

Apple's massive cash flow is a number up 27 percent from a year prior and the largest net-cash sum of any technology company. Highlighted in a new report from The Wall Street Journal, the total, as of June 27, is lower than tech rivals Microsoft and Cisco Systems, but both of those companies have debt that brings them below Apple's total.

Bolstering Apple's financial fortune more than anything has been the iPhone. As has been reported numerous times, the profit margins on the device have greatly increased the handset-maker's revenue, even allowing it to lower its prices on MacBook Pros without affecting the company's bottom line.

In addition, the Journal notes that Apple is not as dependent upon business customers as its rival to the north, Microsoft. Since the recession has had a major impact on corporate spending, the Windows maker has felt a greater impact than Apple.

"Apple has stated a preference for holding on to its money, which allows it to invest in the business in ways such as making acquisitions (though the company seems less inclined than Microsoft to pursue big buyouts," the report states. "It has also stated, however, that its board of directors regularly considers dividends, share buybacks and other options that would return cash to shareholders."

While Apple would rather invest in its cash as the company continues to grow, Microsoft, experiencing a growth slowdown since 2004, has taken a different approach to attract investors. Last year, Microsoft made a one-time $32 billion payment to its shareholders and doubled the payout of its annual dividends.

Similarly, Microsoft has reportedly also offered cash to developers in hopes of courting them to the Zune HD, to be released Sept. 15. According to John Gruber of Daring Fireball, a developer was offered a "bucket of money" to port a Twitter client from the iPhone to the Zune.

The news is noteworthy because Microsoft has not yet announced any plans for an App Store-like offering on the upcoming Zune HD, or any ability for third-party software to run.

"My source is certain the offer was for the Zune, but because he turned it down early on, he doesn’t know the details regarding the OS or SDK," Gruber wrote. If true, the news could mean the Zune is more than just a media player and Web browser, as has already been revealed.
post #2 of 55
I wonder how much a bucket is. Is it 2k? 10k? A free Zune Pass?
post #3 of 55
MS is so desperate for mindshare. It almost hurts to watch them try to buy their way into things they really don't know anything about and then just fumble it.

What MS did essentially is to come up with an iPod Touch duplicate (that fails to duplicate the Touch's current key strengths), 2+ years after the iPod Touch, and put a Zune logo on it, hoping we'll all think it's September 13, 2007.

They did this exact thing with the original Zune (vs. the iPod Classic.)

Except now the iPod market is slowly dying, eclipsed by the iPhone. The way to play thr game now is to converge devices into a single, well-executed unit: the iPhone.

But THIS TIME around, MS thinks they'll get a different result! Meanwhile Apple is about to render MS' entire effort into an non-event come the new iPod release in September.

The real question is . . . why miss the boat AGAIN? Why not release something truly compelling and desirable BEFORE Apple? That's kinda the whole point. Good Lord, even when Apple arrives LATE to the game, they still redefine the market completely (smartphones.) That's a rarity and Apple might be a special case. Not everyone can pull it off. But at the very least, Windows sufferers should be able to expect MS to use all that R&D money (apparently they have far, far more than Apple) to once in a blue moon upstage a company that is half their size, with half their workforce, with half their global reach.

Something is definitely wrong in Redmond. it's getting to the point where I don't really hate MS anymore, I just pity them. You have to feel sorry for an operation like that. It's being run by the WRONG PEOPLE. Probably a case of lions led by donkeys. The first to go should be Ballmer, regardless of how successful Windows 7 will be. It's a little late to be overjoyed by something that should have been out in 2004, or at least perfected by 2007, but wasn't.

No John, he turned down the offer because he didn't think it would really go anywhere and couldnt be bothered to learn to code for and support a platform that comamnds virtually ZERO mindshare, and which is likely to stay that way. And as long as Apple exists, there's a good chance it'll stay that way!
__________________
post #4 of 55
Ever hear of fucking proof-reading? This site has SERIOUSLY gone downhill over the past year. You guys need to step it up or you're going to start losing viewers. That "MS in the red" article was inexcusable for a "news" website.
post #5 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post

I wonder how much a bucket is. Is it 2k? 10k? A free Zune Pass?

it's a subjective term so who knows what the developer meant by that.

IMO though 10,000 hasn't been anything one could consider "a bucket of money" for a long time.
In Windows, a window can be a document, it can be an application, or it can be a window that contains other documents or applications. Theres just no consistency. Its just a big grab bag of monkey...
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In Windows, a window can be a document, it can be an application, or it can be a window that contains other documents or applications. Theres just no consistency. Its just a big grab bag of monkey...
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post #6 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by l008com View Post

Ever hear of fucking proof-reading? This site has SERIOUSLY gone downhill over the past year. You guys need to step it up or you're going to start losing viewers. That "MS in the red" article was inexcusable for a "news" website.

Ever hear of not using foul language and not advertising all over the forum?
In Windows, a window can be a document, it can be an application, or it can be a window that contains other documents or applications. Theres just no consistency. Its just a big grab bag of monkey...
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In Windows, a window can be a document, it can be an application, or it can be a window that contains other documents or applications. Theres just no consistency. Its just a big grab bag of monkey...
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post #7 of 55
Such a grab-bag article. What does Microsoft bribing developers have to do with Apple's cash position?
Please don't be insane.
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Please don't be insane.
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post #8 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Apple's massive cash flow is a number up 27 percent from a year prior and the largest net-cash sum of any technology company. Highlighted in a new report from The Wall Street Journal, the total, as of June 27, is lower than tech rivals Microsoft and Cisco Systems, but both of those companies have debt that brings them below Apple's total.

In my best irrational MS-supporter voice: "But Microsoft dwarfs Apple in marketshare!"
Blindness is a condition as well as a state of mind.

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Blindness is a condition as well as a state of mind.

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post #9 of 55
Wait... Apple has more money than HP? or Google? That's bewildering!
post #10 of 55
I bet it was a "big ass" bucket.

post #11 of 55
Wonder if Apple has any real ideas on what to do with the cash. There were a few acquisitions that I thought made sense-- maybe the OOo franchise from Sun although that isn't their style; I would like to see them get in the business appliance market, but that might not be the most strategic vision. Roku or Slingbox? Closer...?

I keep expecting a dramatic change in the way TV content is offered up-- kind of the produce your own show model where you can pick camera angles, stats, etc to fill the screen. Something to make it interactive but still multi-user.

But hey... 20% of their market cap in cash... maybe I should just buy some more options and let them do the thinking...
post #12 of 55
Apple "awash in cash" as Microsoft offers "buckets" to Zune developers

Better title.....

Apple is LOADED, while Microsoft Sucks.
post #13 of 55
We are talking about Microsoft here, you can't think about Microsoft with thinking 'hole'

http://www.youtube.com/watch?gl=US&v=yD-ffhvefsw

I just wish Microsoft the best of luck continuing down the path they have been on for the past decade. More power to Ballmer's elbow. They do seem to be doing very well, accelerating in fact, of course that's easy when going downhill.
post #14 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by l008com View Post

Ever hear of fucking proof-reading?

Can't say I have. I have heard of regular proof reading though.
Does that count?
post #15 of 55
Quote:
As debt-free Apple has accrued a massive $31.1 billion in cash and investments,

I can hear the tort and patent troll lawyers now... "I'm gonna get me some of that."
post #16 of 55
That's the Microsoft way. No innovation, just copy what others invented. No research, just buy others out. No culture, just drive them out of business.

Just a few among many business practices of Microsoft. What a shame!
post #17 of 55
Can anyone here ever a tually report a fact about Apple without turning it into a dig at Microsoft? Get a grip, it's meant to be a news site.
post #18 of 55
So not only are apple shafting buyers with massive profit margins, but they are also holding out on us shareholders.
Let's celebrate on being shanked two ways!
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post #19 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Similarly, Microsoft has reportedly also offered cash to developers in hopes of courting them to the Zune HD, to be released Sept. 15. According to John Gruber of Daring Fireball, a developer was offered a "bucket of money" to port a Twitter client from the iPhone to the Zune.

The news is noteworthy because Microsoft has not yet announced any plans for an App Store-like offering on the upcoming Zune HD, or any ability for third-party software to run.

"My source is certain the offer was for the Zune, but because he turned it down early on, he doesn’t know the details regarding the OS or SDK," Gruber wrote. If true, the news could mean the Zune is more than just a media player and Web browser, as has already been revealed.

What is Gruber's overall track record with respect to unnamed, unverifiable sources? I realize he's an insightful pundit but my memory is blanking on other instances like this where he quotes unnamed sources and whether they panned out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post

I wonder how much a bucket is. Is it 2k? 10k? A free Zune Pass?

To port an app to a new portable media player platform? Especially one of a questionable future, with in device market that's flat or possibly declining? I think he'd want to have all his costs paid for up front.
post #20 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by l008com View Post

Ever hear of fucking proof-reading? This site has SERIOUSLY gone downhill over the past year. You guys need to step it up or you're going to start losing viewers. That "MS in the red" article was inexcusable for a "news" website.

Got MS long? Poor dear.
post #21 of 55
I'd bet this twitter client is Twitterific. There's no doubt Microsoft will try again.. on another victim.
post #22 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by unferth View Post

Got MS long? Poor dear.

I'm actually long msft myself and this hardly has me shaking! The Zune brand may be dying, but some of the things they actually make money on are looking up. It isn't a zero-sum game.
post #23 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris_CA View Post

Can't say I have. I have heard of regular proof reading though.
Does that count?

As long as it's > 102 Proof Bourbon, all is kosher.
post #24 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

As has been reported numerous times, the profit margins on the device have greatly increased the handset-maker's revenue, even allowing it to lower its prices on MacBook Pros without affecting the company's bottom line.

Suggestion - don't report on financial affairs when nobody at AI knows anything about finance. "Profit margins' do not increase revenues. The "margins" commonly referenced by legitimate financial news sources and analysts is "gross margin" (aka gross profit) which is the difference between sales price and the actual costs of manufacturing (see ifixit"s breakdown of manufacturing costs, which are commonly posted on this site). That's your gross margin / gross profit. Revenues come first, it is not a product of anything else on the income statement.

What is true, however, is that the high Gross Margins / Gross Profits seen from the iPhone are able to compensate for lower margins on other products. All of this contributes to increases in cash.
post #25 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by cycomiko View Post

So not only are apple shafting buyers with massive profit margins, but they are also holding out on us shareholders.
Let's celebrate on being shanked two ways!

All companies seek profit margins, but a company really has to create and deliver a differentiated product to command "massive profit margins". Apple's profit margins are a testament to the hard work they put into each device and highlights an expertise that other companies consistently fail to mimic.

In regards to your "holding out on us shareholders" comment, you must not understand that any money you receive in the form of a dividend will matched with a direct reduction in the value of your shares. So, if you get a $5 dividend for each share, then each share will see a reduction in value by $5. People and institutions that trade shares (and therefore creating the market price) are aware of any loss of asset and will price the share accordingly.

Feel free to spend money on other companies products and invest in other companies that meet you criteria; criteria which apparently excludes quality products and profitable companies.
post #26 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wil Maneker View Post

In regards to your "holding out on us shareholders" comment, you must not understand that any money you receive in the form of a dividend will matched with a direct reduction in the value of your shares. So, if you get a $5 dividend for each share, then each share will see a reduction in value by $5. People and institutions that trade shares (and therefore creating the market price) are aware of any loss of asset and will price the share accordingly.

And your proof for this is...? And before you say that it "must" be true, consider that most companies carry debt on their balance sheets, and the only time it becomes an issue for investors is when it looks like the company might have trouble servicing that debt, and the extent to which it becomes a cost of doing business. Also keep in mind that none of the standard measures of corporate performance include debt or cash on hand. Not gross earnings, not EPS, not P/E. A dollar returned to investors does not equal a dollar reduction in in stock value.
Please don't be insane.
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Please don't be insane.
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post #27 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris_CA View Post

Can't say I have. I have heard of regular proof reading though.
Does that count?

Martha! Quick! Hide the kids!

They're doing that nasty kinda proof reading again!
Pity the agnostic dyslectic. They spend all their time contemplating the existence of dog.
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Pity the agnostic dyslectic. They spend all their time contemplating the existence of dog.
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post #28 of 55
Old habits die hard... MS has a choice - do the hard work to create an environment which is irresistible to consumers and developers OR take the quick and lazy way, try to buy their way in and spread FUD, even though it doesn't work any more.

No wonder their market cap and share price has been static for a decade, while GOOG and AAPL have been posting multiples. MS needs a new business model, one with growth potential, and they have nothing but yesterday's technology, yesterday's software.
post #29 of 55
NOT!

Let's see.
1. $10K USD per app.
2. So, $1G/$10K = 10 000 apps !
3. OK. $1G/$100K = 1 000 apps.
4. $1G/$25G Cash (and equivalents) = 4% of cash. OMG, they will go broke soon!

I think that Microsoft can afford to fund some app development.
post #30 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

And your proof for this is...? And before you say that it "must" be true, consider that most companies carry debt on their balance sheets, and the only time it becomes an issue for investors is when it looks like the company might have trouble servicing that debt, and the extent to which it becomes a cost of doing business. Also keep in mind that none of the standard measures of corporate performance include debt or cash on hand. Not gross earnings, not EPS, not P/E. A dollar returned to investors does not equal a dollar reduction in in stock value.

The drop in share value has nothing to do with the business metrics that managers and analysts use to gauge a companies operating efficiencies, rather it has to do with arbitrage.

The first five results from a google search for "ex dividend date"

"Usually the stock's price will drop by the amount of the dividend on the ex-dividend day (ceteris paribus) since that much wealth has already been transferred by the company to its owners."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ex-dividend_date

"With a significant dividend, the price of a stock may move up by the dollar amount of the dividend as the ex-dividend date approaches and then fall by that amount after the ex-dividend date."
http://www.sec.gov/answers/dividen.htm

"if you buy a dividend stock before the ex-dividend date, then you will receive the next upcoming dividend payment. If you purchase the stock on or after the ex-dividend date, you will not receive the dividend."
http://www.dividend.com/ex-dividend-dates.php

"After the ex-date has been declared, the stock will usually drop in price by the amount of the expected dividend."
http://www.investopedia.com/terms/e/ex-dividend.asp

"Further, for all pending transactions that have not been completed by the ex-dividend date, the exchanges automatically reduce the price of the stock by the amount of the dividend. This is done because a dividend payout automatically reduces the value of the company (it comes from the company's cash reserves), and the investor would have to absorb that reduction in value (because neither the buyer nor the seller are eligible for the dividend)."
http://www.investorwords.com/1819/ex_dividend_date.html


To determine a market's PE ratio for a given stock that has large sums of cash on hand, simply subtract take out the amount of cash per share. Divide this "net" figure by earnings (ttm or expected is up to you) and you have a modified multiplier. Finally, at the end of the day, while everyone values stocks with different methods, a dollar in the hand is still a dollar in the hand.
post #31 of 55
Why not just link to the WSJ article and be done with it?

You're basically taking their article, and changing some words, and publishing it as your own. Of course you've linked, and cited the Journal, but c'mon, this is mostly a fresh bowl of copypasta.

Also, the copy(pasta)-editor for AppleInsider completely misunderstood a portion of the article, and has also misinformed readers:

From WSJ:
Microsoft was in just such a growth slowdown in 2004, when it held nearly $60 billion in cash and investments. It opted to make a $32 billion one-time payment to shareholders, and doubled the payout of its annual dividends (which Microsoft began issuing the prior year).

From AI:
While Apple would rather invest in its cash as the company continues to grow, Microsoft, experiencing a growth slowdown since 2004, has taken a different approach to attract investors. Last year, Microsoft made a one-time $32 billion payment to its shareholders and doubled the payout of its annual dividends.

---

AppleInsider seems to think that MSFT's slowdown began after 2004 and backs that up by stating that the 32bn payment happened 'last year'.

Well, no.

The payment happened in 2004, and the dividend in the prior year (2003) was basically an admission by MSFT that the growth was over.
post #32 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by davebarnes View Post

NOT!

Let's see.
1. $10K USD per app.
2. So, $1G/$10K = 10 000 apps !
3. OK. $1G/$100K = 1 000 apps.
4. $1G/$25G Cash (and equivalents) = 4% of cash. OMG, they will go broke soon!

I think that Microsoft can afford to fund some app development.

10K per app is just going to fund a bunch of "fart" apps. Good luck with that strategy!
post #33 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by OC4Theo View Post

That's the Microsoft way. No innovation, just copy what others invented. No research, just buy others out. No culture, just drive them out of business.

Just a few among many business practices of Microsoft. What a shame!


Exactly.

Microsoft doesn't know how to lead, just to copy and follow.

Apple knows how to innovate and create markets. Because in business, the first ones in a new market are the ones going to profit the most. The johnny come later's don't make nearly anything.

Developers know this and they know Microsoft, so they resist M$ and M$ has to resort to bribing them.

There is no love working for Microsoft and Apple has to bribe no one.
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post #34 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wil Maneker View Post

All companies seek profit margins, but a company really has to create and deliver a differentiated product to command "massive profit margins". Apple's profit margins are a testament to the hard work they put into each device and highlights an expertise that other companies consistently fail to mimic.

In regards to your "holding out on us shareholders" comment, you must not understand that any money you receive in the form of a dividend will matched with a direct reduction in the value of your shares. So, if you get a $5 dividend for each share, then each share will see a reduction in value by $5. People and institutions that trade shares (and therefore creating the market price) are aware of any loss of asset and will price the share accordingly.

Feel free to spend money on other companies products and invest in other companies that meet you criteria; criteria which apparently excludes quality products and profitable companies.

whatever gets you to sleep at night, but apologists love you for it
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post #35 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wil Maneker View Post

The drop in share value has nothing to do with the business metrics that managers and analysts use to gauge a companies operating efficiencies, rather it has to do with arbitrage.

In terms of buzzword content, I give this sentence a 9 out of 10.

Quote:
To determine a market's PE ratio for a given stock that has large sums of cash on hand, simply subtract take out the amount of cash per share. Divide this "net" figure by earnings (ttm or expected is up to you) and you have a modified multiplier. Finally, at the end of the day, while everyone values stocks with different methods, a dollar in the hand is still a dollar in the hand.

Ah, the wisdom of Google, combined with Wikipedia. Now all is known.

Only in theory, and then only for stocks with large dividends, and not even then. In reality, investors and traders pay little to no attention to cash or hand or debt. It wasn't so long ago that AAPL was trading for close to its cash value. If you discounted the stock price for cash, as you suggest is the correct method, then the value of AAPL at that point was close to zero, or even minus, if you considered their other less liquid assets. And forget about the value of the business itself. At that point, the market was saying that wasn't worth anything.

I wish P/E was computed net cash or debt, but I have never seen such a number published.

In fact, dividends create value for investors. They make a stock more attractive.
Please don't be insane.
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post #36 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Virgil-TB2 View Post

it's a subjective term so who knows what the developer meant by that.

IMO though 10,000 hasn't been anything one could consider "a bucket of money" for a long time.

Indeed, a 'bucket' would need to be way into 6 figures, especially to do something for MS.
post #37 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

Such a grab-bag article. What does Microsoft bribing developers have to do with Apple's cash position?

Because AI knows any article mentioning Microsoft will drive up page hits which is good for advertising revenue. They know the same group of MS haters will have to chime in with the same tired, witless MS bashing comments like they always do.
post #38 of 55
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post #39 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wil Maneker View Post

Great work!

Cut that out. Maybe you would have a point if you weren't so condescending about it.
post #40 of 55
none of you understand the real problem with dividends. In high-growth fields like technology, when a firm decides to pay dividends, it sends a signal that share price growth alone is not sufficient to satisfy investors. That means the company is no longer innovating and growing like it did in the past. They are no longer re-investing profits within the company, rather they are paying out income to shareholders. Microsoft made that giant dividend payment a few years ago, and their share price has be completely stagnant, if not actually lower than before. They're done growing. Apple is not. Dividends do indeed create shareholder value, however, Apple feels they can create more value by holding onto their cash. This allows them to continue to make investments during economic downturns (which they are doing), as well as gives them the ability to make acquisitions at the drop of a hat (see the $300 million all-cash PA Semi deal).

As an investor, I'd rather see the stock price double (like Apple's has) than get a buck or two a year in dividends.

PS - the person who asked for proof that dividends have an immediate effect on share price got totally owned by the guy with all the quotes and links. HA.
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