What if Apple spent even more on R&D?
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What if Apple spent even more on R&D?

When we think of Apple, we think of a company that spends a big hunk of its profits on research and development as it develops the Next Big Thing. Well, perhaps not so much.

In a recent "MacLife" column, Rik Myslewski pointed out that Apple has about USS$117 billion in the bank, and its R&D budget for the previous fiscal quarter was 0.75% of that amount. In contrast, IBM had $11.2 billion in cash and spent 14.6% of that on research and development.

And a recent "CNET" column -- see http://crave.cnet.co.uk/mobiles/apple-spends-more-on-patents-than-randd-... -- points out that Apple now spends more money on patenting stuff "than it does on coming up with new ideas."

Admittedly, the whole patent situation is out of control and needs to be fixed (but that's a column for another day), so Apple has to spend lots of moolah protecting its ideas. Still ... what if Apple were to increase its R&D budget to 5% of its quarterly profits -- in other words more than quadrupling its research and development outlay.

What could Apple come up with if it spend even more cash on innovative ideas?

Would iOS 6 Maps work better?

Would we see an Apple-developed iCar?

Would we see some truly ground-breaking Macs?

Would our iPhones levitate to us when we willed them to do so?

Maybe nothing would be that different. Still, if Apple accomplishes all the incredible things it does with 0.75% of its cash value, imagine if that figure were 2%. Or 5%. Or 10%.

-- Dennis Sellers

 
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