As for CEO Tim Cook's thoughts on the matter?
Naturally, this all shows that Apple is supremely confident in its future, but it doesn't shed any light into potential acquisitions from a technology standpoint. Strangely enough, it was just a few days ago that Mr. Cook ended his new iPad keynote with a promise that 2012 would be chock full of unbelievable things from his company, but it sounds like the only folks celebrating this particular announcement are those with a hand in the stockpile. We don't expect to glean much more than what's given in the presser just past the break, but we'll be liveblogging the actual conference call starting at 9AM ET.
"We have used some of our cash to make great investments in our business through increased research and development, acquisitions, new retail store openings, strategic prepayments and capital expenditures in our supply chain, and building out our infrastructure. You'll see more of all of these in the future. Even with these investments, we can maintain a war chest for strategic opportunities and have plenty of cash to run our business. So we are going to initiate a dividend and share repurchase program."