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Apple doesn't need $178 billion of cash to change the world
In order to see why Apple doesn't need $178 billion of cash for its business, it is crucial to examine how Apple operates and thinks about products.
Apple has a functional organizational structure, not one based on product groups or some other type of hierarchy. That makes it easy for the company to shift attention to new products as needed. Despite having 46,000 non-retail Apple employees, Apple is a nimble company able to respond to changing market dynamics quickly and efficiently. Apple's strengths include allowing ideas to be born from close collaboration at a very early stage and offering an environment that fosters the nurturing of fragile ideas through the development process. Many larger companies are simply unable to capture this type of "start-up" mentality. For Apple, large scale M&A with a significant capital footprint does not fit too well in such a structure.
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