Springfords LLP blog

Some news, views and comments about everything and anything, relevant and irreverent.

Money doesn't grow on apple trees

02 February 2015

Unless you are a certain Californian computing conglomerate, in which case money has the fecundity of an orchard on steroids.

Satirists and statisticians alike have been having a romp through the profit and loss account, as uber-brand Apple posted world record profits for the last quarter of 2014.  Amusing infographics joyfully trotted out equivalent sales velocity for all manner of commodities in an effort to humanise the admittedly staggering quarterly profit of £11.8bn.  Obviously iPhone sales would be the easiest - the figure equating to approximately one shipped every two seconds.  Everything came under the spotlight, from iForth Crossings (three more and a tunnel) to iTrams (Edinburgh’s debt paid off in full in a fortnight), to solving the eurozone crisis (Apple is making money about as fast as Greece is losing it).

BBC’s The Now Show reckoned Apple would have enough to buy a nuclear arsenal, and enough change left over to buy Arsenal as well, quipping that the London football club could do with a reboot and a bit more fire power up front. 

Staying on the ball, those quarterly profits could buy the worldwide television rights to the entire Premiership for next season, the season after that as well, and the next one too. Then the next three years as well, no matter how much money Virgin, BT or Sky choose to throw into the auction.  While they’re at it, they could buy shirt sponsorship from all twenty teams as well.  If the idea of the iPremiership and twenty Apple adorned teams playing weekly to a global audience approaching a quarter of the population of the planet looks like a good way to invest one year’s marketing budget, you can be sure someone back at iHQ in Cupertino has pondered the same thought.

Going beyond the numbers, and looking at a global context, if we were discussing the Commercial iPeoples Dominion of Apple, and if this level of earning was maintained, we’d be talking about a state with a GDP in the top half of the world’s economies.  Given the level of trade with the corporation, most countries would be sending an ambassador to the iTerritory with more enthusiasm than they might to the likes of smaller economies such as Lithuania, Monaco, Panama or Luxembourg. 

All this begs the question of what to do when you’re a company with the clout of a country?  If Apple were a patriotic Galloway Pippin, and not an upstanding Washington Red, White and Blue, it could make a big difference.  If those earnings were applied to the UK trade figures, it wouldn’t necessarily solve all of the Treasury’s challenges, but it could be ‘bye bye’ to the current account deficit before the end of the year. 

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