Steve Jobs, one of the founders of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) and its longtime chief executive officer, has been dead for over six years. His influence at the company has continued all that time. Many people would say it has overshadowed the current CEO, Tim Cook. As Apple said it would bring $350 billion in cash back to the United States in the next five years and pay the government $38 billion in taxes, Cook took another step away from the founder’s legacy.
Apple has had a years-old habit of keeping cash offshore, mainly to avoid U.S. taxes. However, investors have criticized Apple for not putting that money to work, either inside or outside the United States, via more expansion of its current businesses or more M&A transactions. Since most of the money was invested in super-safe fixed income securities, it earned very little.
Cook said Apple not only will bring the cash back to the United States, but he also will put it to work in some of the ways outsiders have desired for many years. Apple made two comments about the investment of the money it is moving to America:
Apple expects to invest over $30 billion in capital expenditures in the US over the next five years and create over 20,000 new jobs through hiring at existing campuses and opening a new one. Apple already employs 84,000 people in all 50 states.
Building on the initial success of the Advanced Manufacturing Fund announced last spring, Apple is increasing the size of the fund from $1 billion to $5 billion. The fund was established to support innovation among American manufacturers and help others establish a presence in the US. It is already backing projects with leading manufacturers in Kentucky and rural Texas.
All totaled, Apple’s contribution to new jobs in the United States could be over 100,000.
Most of the comments about Jobs’s influence on Apple have been about the fingerprints he left on generation after generation of the iPhone, the Siri “personal assistant” technology, Apple’s iOS operating system and the growing world of apps. The Apple iPhone 8 and iPhone X are more a leap from the original iPhone that a generation shift. Siri has grown to a level of sophistication so complex that companies like Amazon have copied it, and in some cases advanced it considerably to become a mainstay of daily life. Apple has become part of the new entertainment and information environment, which affects the lives of hundreds of millions of people.
And on top of all these technological developments, Cook finally has put Apple’s cash hoard to work.