One idea for Apple’s cash pile: Open its own nonprofit university

“Steve Jobs once said that, ‘I’d like the people teaching my kids to be good enough that they could get a job at the company I work for, making a hundred thousand dollars a year,'” Shawn Langlois writes for MarketWatch. “Now, some 20 years later, Apple can do something about it, according to Alex Tabarrok, an economics professor at George Mason University.”

“He detailed his idea for the company’s massive cash pile on the Marginal Revolution blog,” Langlois writes. “‘Apple has more than $205 billion in cash. What should they do with the money?’ he wrote. ‘Apple should buy a university and rebuild it from the ground up.'”

“Tabarrok’s concept involves a nonprofit entity striving to take a place among the world’s elite institutions,” Langlois writes. “He told MarketWatch in an interview that the current system is in need of an overhaul, and the next phase likely doesn’t include professors standing in front of students and conducting a “chalk and talk.” Much like Africa has leapfrogged landlines to cellphones, Tabarrok said, countries like China and India are ready to embrace the virtual future.”

“‘Universities have had a free ride for a long time, and it’s pretty clear that, in general, they’re not doing a great job,’ he said. ‘It’s a good time to rethink the current system,'” Langlois writes. “And who better to shake it up than Apple, which would also, of course, stand to benefit, business-wise, over the long term, even with nonprofit status.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Tabarrok is a university professor, so naturally he’d like to spend Apple’s money on his line of work.

We’re content to let Apple spend its own cash however it sees fit, accountable to its shareholders as always.


  1. Actually that is not a bad idea. It worked quite well for Xavier and his X-Men. All students would have to be quite special to win a place at this university. Problem however would be if they got up and left to work for Microsoft or Samding.

      1. Sadly, I too think that Apple would not really deliver a quality education — anymore. Although this idea has promise, Apple is falling prey to the moral indulgences that too many empires over time have fallen to, which eventually lead to their ruin.

  2. Apple’s cash pile is greater than the top ten university endowments put together. They could establish a Stanford-sized endowment with around 10 percent of their cash pile.

    That being said, the money in the end belongs to their shareholders (as an aside, I am NOT one). I don’t think charity on that scale is an appropriate use of that money.

    – HCE

    1. As you say the money belongs to the stockholders so why not have the stockholders vote on it at an annual Stockholder’s meeting? I do have a question about the funds required however, not that there is not enough in total but if funds have to repatriated first how much would that cost Apple? If they had enough funds in the States I don’t think they would have to sell bonds to pay out dividends currently being enjoyed.

        1. The Business Law Textbooks on my shelf say differently. Is this some idea some random person on the internet told you?

          Shareholders may have the rights to propose and vote on corporate legislation, elect representatives, and to share in profits if there is a distribution. Some shareholders may not have all of these rights.

          Companies have the duty of running their business.

  3. It’s Apple’s money. Everyone seems to have a pet theory about what Apple should do with it. It’s no one business but Apple’s. And it’s usually some liberal who want’s to appropriate Apple’s money for some do-gooder cause. Liberals never want to spend their own money, always someone else’s.

        1. Howie, I’ve got your back… Shut is obviously a girl who is going to vote for Hillary, or Bernie the Socialist. Yes, Liberals are green with envy, who’s only goal becomes redistributing other peoples wealth, not theirs, and then they secretly complain about taxes, (if they’re anything like my super lib 60’s bra burning acid casualty feminazi throwback mother in law in upstate NY..)

          I AM a shareholder, and how about APPLE invests it in R&D to make more great products that MAKE MONEY by making peoples lives better.

          This is the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard…… That from a shareholder with a LOT of skin in the game.

          By the way, ever notice that the libtards that complain about evil corporations never have ANY skin in the game? Buy some stock,, become an owner, Profit a bit,, then we’ll see how EVIL the Corp is… Christ, I’m a corp, with only 5 employees..
          I’m EVIL.. Liberals would just be silly if they were not destroying the country with their silliness.

          1. Question.. When Hillary and Bernie Say that they want to FORCE corporations to SHARE the profits with their employees, just know, many do.. with stock options, 401k’s, more…

            BUT do they realize that means the employees SHARE IN THE LOSSES TOO ???? Of course Hillary is not that smart…*well, she is pandering, it’s just a feel good sound bite for Liberal sheep that want a free hand out..

            You do realize that 9 out of 10 business startups fail in the first year and then of the survivors, 9 out of 10 fail in their second year..

            So Hillary is giving said “owed something employees’ a near 100 % chance of losing money.
            But leave it to a lib to not know anything about well, anything.

            That’s why they need to tax fossil fuels, because the country is broke as shit and they know that’s a source of income that they can soak everyone for.

            Leave it to the democrats to figure a way to TAX the weather… Desired lib comebacks in 3, 2, 1,

            So to be relevant, NO, we don’t need APPLE investing in universities which are mostly liberal think tanks.

            I cant help myself.. When Hillary and Bernie say FREE college education,, do they realize that nearly 98% of college kids that start NEVER finish with a 4 year degree? and most of them are just in extended high school, stalling? So we’re to pay for stalling, and mostly failing kids. And you KNOW that the libs will have to be FAIR, so totally unqualified candidates will clog the school rather than learn a trade and work.. That’ll be good for the economy, what could go wrong? Hey, why not loaf in school for a few years? on the GUBMENT Tab… Shit, I’ll go back… sounds fun,,

            What a joke.

            1. Employees, of course, share the losses, ask anyone of them who has lost their job when the company fails.

              It’s not amazing how many conservatives run a company into the ground, take note of US economy, Bush, Bush, Nixon, even Regan but at least he had enough reason to work with the Democrats.The first Bush was smart enough to raise taxes, which set clinton up for growth years.

              If it weren’t for President Obama these conservatives would be paying 5, 6, 7 dollars for gas, george will thinks that’s what we should pay, sleeping on top of their money because the banks would be worthless. It seems their only idea is to pay no taxes. Let’s say we are stupid enough to allow this foolishness, then what’s next? They have no idea how to create, maybe prayer in school is the solution to your unemployment, how about prayer at work, how about if you don’t believe what I believe you can’t work here. They seem not to grasp the act of creating takes liberal thinking, new ideas, open mindedness. They have been whining about taxes forever. If there is only so much money, and the rich are just sitting on their money, you know, not building highways, not building bridges, sewer systems, police forces, fire departments, army, navy, air force, coast guard, etc. there is no money for the any one else. Only credit, and it’s killing the world. The Greeks will never pay that bill.

              These people kill me. They have no real idea, the SAT is about making money. 50K, 60K, 100K a year for college, how in anybody’s mind does that make sense. Conservatives some how think there is value in these nutty, overpriced educations. I would understand these prices better if they came with money back guarantees, jobs, or even more knowledge, but that’s not the case. If the schools were 360 days long, if the class did not move on until 100% of those 100K dollar payers understood and retained 95% of the information presented. I could understand the claim that it’s a better education.

              End all sports programs at all colleges. Extend the school year to 363 days. If a book is required for the class, the book must be covered, cover to cover. All problems, or questions in the book must be answered. Give only exit exams after 4 years covering all subject matter. Graduate only those that make 94% or better on exit exams, throw out the rest, the rest of the student, they had 4 years like those that passed. Those that fail get nothing, not even acknowledgement that they attended the school. Dump all curricula that’s not science, engineering, or math. Require all graduates to speak and write 3 languages at least. no curves, 100 questions, 94 need to be right.
              Yes, dump business, they are the kids that were lazy, or couldn’t make it in engineering school anyway.

            2. You can’t predict the future. You say idiot things like “if it wasn’t for Obama”…and then propose some nightmare scenario. Fact is, if Obama had not been president, YOU DON’T KNOW what would have happened. Nobody does. That logic is extremely unconvincing and it reveals the fatal progressive flaw – hubris.

      1. All depends on the breakdown of where that $2B per week is being made. If only 10% is attributable to within the U.S. you may have to consider the cost of repatriating enough of the rest of any funds that may be necessary in that time.

    1. Uuuhhhh, actually its the Investors money. Apple gets to spend it in the way that best represents the desires of its investors. This is done via the investor (stock owners) elected Board of Directors. I doubt any investor wants Apple to spend the money on anything that does not lead to more profit.

    2. Yes, those liberals. Unlike we conservatives who fund multi-trillion dollar wars with our own money. BTW, read your blog Howie and was impressed with the way you badgered that vendor over a license plate frame. Classy!

      1. You are not thinking clearly. War is not a conservative or a liberal thing. FDR, no conservative, involved the US in the largest war in human history. However, the greater point is that war is sometimes necessary. Thinking that it cannot ever be used is a position of supreme weakness that leads you, eventually, to refusing to defend your own life.

    1. UT is in Austin, which has more Big Tech than Big Oil. Sooo….

      Big Oil is in Houston, the home of Rice University, not to be confused with Big Agra, which would need to fund UAPB, because U of Arkansas is in the northwest part of the state, where Tyson is big money, but Big Chicken would be more appropriate to fund Occidental College….

      Well, you tried.

            1. Bentonville, AR. Also, home of one of America’s great art museums (thank you Wal-Mart Foundation).


              I understand your initial humor. Really, even as a Southerner and Texan, I know why people have knee jerks. I just wish the coast and ‘up North’ could get over it.

              Also, just for spits and wiggles….Arkansas was a solid blue Democrat state until 2010 and was decimated in 2014 (not so much by Republicans as Obama).

              Just a tidbit for ya’.

            2. Yeah, Texas gets a lot of the ‘bigger’ jokes owing to the phrase “Everything is bigger in Texas”.. I read one a while back playing on that, that went:

              “To our friends in Texas, if Alaska were split exactly in half, Texas would be the 3rd largest State.

  4. Leave it to an economics professor to use “Apple” and “non-profit” in the same concept. I swear, has this guy learned nothing? Hey Tabarrok, I’ve got an idea for you, figure out why your university expanded its administrative overhead by 400% over the last decade, and cut it down to size before Apple turns your bloated employer into the next Mororola.

    1. Excellent point. There is a reason why tuition rates have been going through the roof, and admin expenditures is a part of that. Another part of it is the student aid inflation brought by federal student loan policies (with more student aid available, universities just raise their tuition that much more). The phrase here is “education bubble”.

  5. There is no such thing as a non-profit school.
    The profits are all divvied-up to show no excess.

    Matter of fact, most ‘Rich Folk’ schools like Harvard could use endowment money THEY already have and never charge tuition, but then they couldn’t weed out the ‘unwanted’ and wouldn’t have money to throw at lobbyist to keep school funding up and payrolls high and new books every semester for the same GDam subjects taught for centuries and student loans backed by China to fuel all of this just for a worthless piece of paper in a bleeding economy.

    Big Education is a stupid ripoff.

    Discus among yourselves…..

    1. Tower – Nice post. However, a few corrections are in order:

      There is a HUGE difference between non-profit and for-profit institutions. They’re called investors.” Until 30 years ago, virtually all hospitals were non-profit. When for-profit hospitals were allowed, health care suffered.

      Free universities (Cooper Union, University of California until Reagan, City College of New York, etc.) have always been very selective about who they admit. No tuition does not mean no standards.

      And the diploma might be worthless, but the education and exposure certainly aren’t. Just listen to what Jobs said at his Stanford commencement speech about that one Calligraphy class. And the contacts you make in college, can last a lifetime (Just ask Steve Ballmer about his Harvard roommate).

      1. Dude, I get all of that.

        You’re missing the bigger point of ‘damn the degrees’ business aspect. Of course there are good schools and good degrees, but the overall usefulness has been diminished by the cost, oversell, and bad economy.

        I also know wiping out student debt (which they are largely responsible for) will be a rallying cry for Democrats, along with free diplomas, seeing as how ObamaCare got them this far.

        Now, could you correlate for-profit hospitals with degraded health care, or isn’t the inverse the reality?

  6. Apple is donating 100m for USA govt’s ConnectD , macs and iOS devices for 100 plus schools, 50m for minority student grants, offers education courses for its Chinese workers who want to upgrade themselves (including school fees and grants to underaged workers sent back to high school) etc.

    besides that they have WWDC scholarships, Apple Scholars Program (for distinguished High School Students), Apple Distinguished Educator Program (for Teachers and Educators. More than 2000 recipients world wide so far), iTunes U ETC.

    Off course three’s the elite Apple University for it’s own staff. (btw one lecturer there according to court documents was paid over 1 million a year, several times his previous Stamford salary).

    note: I’m not up to date on some of the above so changes might have occurred (like the Diversity minority programs might be much larger now)

  7. Hell No! Pay the money out to the stockholders. Education is a losing proposition. No university gives a guarantee after spending all that money and they should. The big lie, spend 50, 60 thousand dollars and year, and we the teachers determine your grade based on your work. The hell with that at 50 or 60 thousand a year, no guarantee of a job when finished, no money back, except for one college, put the A down and kept it moving, after all 50000, 60000 it’s paid for.

  8. Leaving all of the politics behind, maybe they could better subsidize college student purchases of MacBooks; Apple’s “educational discount” isn’t much currently. Additionally, providing some of the insights of its internal Apple University to other colleges and universities might improve higher education overall.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.