We're in the midst of an amazing tech boom. Anyone and everyone seems to be using smartphones and tablets. And the companies that sell these products are generating huge amounts of cash.
The first thing a teenager will buy these days is an iPhone. These are the ultimate consumer objects of desire, and this is why Apple is the most profitable listed firm in the world, with a market cap of around half a trillion dollars.
US tech firms sit on billions of unspent cash
Yet businesses such as Apple and Facebook have (relatively) few employees given their size and few fixed costs compared to some giant businesses. And these fast-growing companies tend to pay out little or nothing in dividends. And even the costs of developing new products is low compared to the cash these firms have available. This means the bulk of the earnings go unspent.
The end result is that America's tech companies, including Apple, are sitting on billions of unspent cash. After the next set of results is announced, Apple may soon have $300bn stored in its accounts. So, what should it do with its money? Here's one idea...
Instead of letting $300bn sit in a bank account, gathering dust, why not invest it? Of course, you would need to hire a fund manager, so why not go for the best? Warren Buffett is a little long in the tooth now, so what about Britain's most successful investment manager, Neil Woodford?
During the past 16 years Britain has endured a long and difficult bear market, yet since the turn of the century Woodford's main investment vehicles, the Invesco Perpetual Income and Invesco Perpetual High Income funds, have grown to values of £10.36bn and £13.64bn, respectively.
Since the year 2000, during a time when most stock prices were falling, Neil Woodford produced an annualised total return of 8.8%. In the global bull market to come, I expect the returns he produces to be significantly higher.
Think what Neil Woodford could do with this cash
And what should he invest Apple's multi-billions in? Well, with so much money to spend, my guess is he would look beyond the shores of the US and the UK, to invest the funds wherever there are high growth, and dividend-yielding, stocks.
Thus the purchases should be global, including companies such as China's Tencent and Ali Baba, India's Infosys, AstraZeneca and Next, US tech companies, and Banco Santander in Europe. $300bn is a lot to shell out, so he could buy into many of the most promising companies worldwide.
This might seem like some idle flight of fantasy and, to some extent, it is. But something like this has been achieved before. When Warren Buffett bought Berkshire Hathaway it was a failing textile factory with few prospects. Buffett turned it into a money-making machine, and became one of the world's richest men in the process.
If Woodford could do anywhere near as well, he could make hundreds of billions for Apple. In fact Apple would go from being one of the world's leading tech businesses, to a huge investment fund that also dabbles in technology.
I jest a little, and I think Tim Cook would be far too cautious to do something like this. But just imagine if he did....
Prabhat Sakya has no position in any shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK owns shares of and has recommended Apple. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.