How Will Apple Manage Its War Chest of $60 Billion in Cash?

Apple topped Barron’s ranking of the most respected companies, and that’s due to its stock performance:

Riding its soaring financial results, the company’s stock zoomed 53% last year and is up nearly 11% this year, to $356.85 as of Friday. Its stock market capitalization of $328 billion is second only to Exxon Mobil’s $412 billion.

Apple has become more than just a tech company, it now possesses over $60 billion in cash. In comparison, Google has $30 billion, and Intel just over $20 billion. What to do with all that cash?

Using cash to secure components appears to be the plausible choice, as a recent report states that Apple is about to invest $7.8 billion into Samsung components, making Cupertino the #1 customer of the South Korean conglomerate. The iPad alone, is a $16 billion dollar market, which makes it a ‘company’ within itself.

Other rumours state Apple has acquired a company to revamp iOS notifications, just another purchase like Lala in the past.

Will Apple ever offer a dividend to investors? Right now, all that cash in the bank gives Apple breathing room over its competitors, says Steve Jobs (via G&M):

Apple’s CEO, Steve Jobs, has said “cash in the bank” gives his company “tremendous security and flexibility.” If Apple needs to acquire a piece of the puzzle to make something “big and bold,” they can simply write a cheque. And now that Apple is back in the big leagues, it needs lots of cash to make moves that can “move the needle.”

What should Apple do with all of its cash on hand?

[LA Times, Globe and Mail,