Hey, Apple: You've got $45 billion. Do something good!

Noah Kravitz
 from Oakland, CA
Published: July 21, 2010

For something like the eighty-eighth consecutive quarter, Apple blew away all expectations with their earnings report yesterday. The iPhone maker had its best fiscal quarter ever, and by a country mile at that, reporting $15.7 billion in revenue for Q3 2010, which is a whopping 61% increase versus the previous June.

And, no, that doesn't include iPhone 4 sales. Those get figured into the current quarter.

Here's the figure that's lodged in my dense little head: Apple now has $45.8 billion in cash. Forty-five billion dollars in cash.

I've got an idea. Do something good with just a little piece of that pie, Apple. Do something really, really unselfish and not-for-profit and awesome with, I dunno, a billion bucks. Shore up a bunch of schools or fix California's sorry-ass, broken-down public works and social service programs, or go fix what BP broke in the Gulf. It's your money, so you pick. But go do something good.

Why? Two reasons.

One: It's good to do good. Selfless acts of good are great for the giver and great for the receiver(s). One billion dollars is an insane amount of money that could permanently change many, many lives for the better if invested wisely. And while I'm no financial expert, I'm pretty sure that you guys can spare a billion right about now. Seriously. You can spare one billion dollars. So do it, and change a bunch of lives - maybe even a few generations - for the better.

Two: You could use the good press. Sure, you're making money hand over fist, and sure even with the whole antennagate thing, your new iPhone is still a fantastic piece of kit that you literally can't make fast enough to satiate consumer demand. You're still taking your lumps in the press, and you've been looking a bit frayed around the edges as of late, what with the odd, terse public Emails to customers and the weird vibes between you and the media at your last press event.

So do something awesome - do a few things awesome - just for the sake of it. Make a quiet announcement and let the hype machine you've worked so hard to build do the rest. Whether or not it helps you sell another iPhone or not, it'll do wonders for your karma. And, more importantly, it'll do wonders for the lives of a whole bunch of other people (if you do it right).

I've long been an Apple fan. And while I sometimes get frustrated with the way they go about the business side of making and selling technology, my faith in their ability to turn great concepts into killer products has never been in doubt. There's no doubt they can apply that product development magic to something other than a gadget - something of the Bill and Melinda Foundation, perhaps?

$45.8 billion in cash. That's a ton of money. I think it's enough to do some very important philanthropic work and keep the gadget innovation machine rollin' strong. Don't you?

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