How do you know it's mere hoarding as opposed to saving for a strategic purpose? There are many multi-billion dollar ventures for massively tapping new markets. The problem, of course, is making that money back.
However, you don't make any money back from dividends either. I'd rather see Apple invest in a game changing event than a dividend.
Examples include a second internet that folks have hinted that Google might do someday for the ability to more rapidly push their own content. That would require purchases of companies that provide last mile solutions OR develop a new last mile solution like Clear/Xohm might have done. Or perhaps a mesh network solution.
Even the ability to threaten to do this has huge strategic advantages. Like Google's $4.6B bid on the 700Mhz spectrum. That's 10% of Apple current cash holdings. Billions more if the threat had to be carried through...and with another $15-20B in the bank the incumbents had to seriously consider if they really pissed Google off what it might do or more importantly do to them. So they caved on the net neutrality points Google cared about even though it was strategically inadvisable to do so from their perspective.
Besides, even if they are mearly hoarding they have plenty of company. The 500 largest non-financial firms were holding $995B in reserves. Tech companies are traditionally hoarders:
"At the end of the second quarter, the 54 biggest information-technology firms held $280 billion -- or 27% of their assets -- in cash, according to the Journal's analysis, a higher percentage than any other industry group. Cash balances grew further in the third quarter for the 34 companies in that group that have reported results.
Consider Google. The search giant's cash and short-term investments rose 53% to $22 billion in the third quarter from a year earlier, accounting for 58% of its total assets.
The cash provides "operating and strategic flexibility," Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt told analysts last month. "We're very happy to have it sit in our bank account and earn a modest interest rate.""
BTW, it's worth reminding people who aren't AAPL investors that those of us who are AAPL investors have seen zero return in two years. The grim reality is that while Apple has grown profits substantially and fattened its wallet immeasurably over that period, that long-term investors have seen exactly squat as a result.
Then I recommend you sell. Did you notice that there has been some minor economic fluctuations the last couple years? What is it they call that?