So Apple’s now worth another billion dollars, pocket change for the mighty Mac maker.
Should it just deposit the dosh with all the other billions or do something proper with it. Stick it all on a horse (not literally… you know, gamble with it)? Set fire to it to show just how much cash it already has? Stick a dollar bill in with every iPhone 5 it sells between September 21 and the Christmas holidays?
Here’s my ten suggestions of what Apple should do with Samsung’s billion bucks.
1. Pay off a tiny bit of California’s debt
California’s finances aren’t in the best of health despite having massively rich corporations such as Apple, Facebook, Oracle and HP based there. Its debt stands at a staggering $361 billion, so Apple’s gift of $1b isn’t going to dent it that much. Despite some saying that Apple doesn’t pay its US taxes, greater financial minds have defended the fabulously wealthy tech giant, which apparently already pays its dues. Another $1b would certainly be at least a nice PR move.
Apple, could, however, pay a bit more in the UK where it avoids tax (just like Facebook and Google) by basing its European operations in Ireland – therefore skipping over £350m tax each year.
2. Build that amazing spaceship HQ in Cupertino
Steve Jobs said that the best thing he ever created was Apple itself. So why are its sainted employees housed in things that look like regular buildings and not a vast circular glass spaceship? That’s just embarrassing, right?
3. Install a lifelike Steve Jobs robot in every Apple Store
Let’s have a real genius in the Apple Store for a change, not just those slightly smug blue-shirted guys who shake their head and accuse you of water-boarding your iPhone when you have the temerity to suggest that it’s faulty.
The robot Steve Jobs, in trademark blue jeans and turtleneck, shouldn’t be so lifelike that it answers all questions with a non-committal “Apple doesn’t comment on future products” but enough that it gravely insults every hundredth customer.
4. Delete all references to the iMac’s hockey puck mouse
Media companies aren’t easily bribed but $1 billion goes a long way when it comes to losing a few articles back from 1998 when Apple designed the world’s most amazing looking personal computer but the universe’s least ergonomic mouse to go with it.
The original iMac’s mouse was quickly derided and mocked as the hockey puck mouse due to its, well, hockey puck like shape. This stain on Jonathan Ive’s reputation could surely be erased from online history with some judicious brown paper bags delivered to media organizations around the world.
See also: Insanely bad! 10 Apple duds
5. Create a giant cube of Cubes
Apple’s Power Mac G4 Cube stunned the world with its fantastic cool looks and amazing engineering that squeezed an ugly pro desktop computer into something the size of a tissue box.
It was a cube. It looked like it was made of glass. Ergo, it was Steve Jobs’ perfect computer.
And if he’d bought millions of them it would have been a tremendous success. Sadly (1) he didn’t need to buy any as he got free computers as a perk of the job, and (2) there was only one Steve Jobs.
Apple didn’t sell many G4 Cubes so it shouldn’t cost much to track down all the units that were sold between 2000 and 2001. It could use the remaining $999,984,744 to construct a giant cube mausoleum for its now departed leader. Or, I suppose, not so giant.
6. Genetically engineer new breeds of big cat
Cheetah, Puma, Jaguar, Panther, Tiger, Leopard, Snow Leopard, Lion, Mountain Lion…
Can you see the pattern? Apple is running out of big cats to name its new versions of OS X after. Before it has to resort to smaller cats or go back to names of bears (the Mac OS X Public Beta was bizarrely code-named Kodiak after the bear, but then it was announced in France) Apple should follow the lead of brave Dr Moreau-like scientists who created hybrids like the Liger and Tiglon in producing all-new breeds of predator cats.
Thus it would not only ensure it had complete control of future OS X versions but also do things that previously only God (and a few cranks) had done – which should pamper its already colossal ego just that little bit more.
7. Sue everybody else (especially... you know who...)
Why stop at Samsung? Seek and destroy HTC, Motorola, Asus, LG, Lenovo, Toshiba, Acer… all those companies that had the cheek to lure customers away from the iPad and iPhone with devices running Android. See also: Android tablet reviews and Android smartphone reviews.
And how about the grandroid enemy – Google itself. So far Apple has attacked device manufacturers rather than the Great Satan of Android, Google.
It is clearly preparing itself for a massive thermonuclear strike on Google, removing its old CEO Eric Schmidt from its board of directors, and apps such as YouTube and Google Maps from pre-installation on its iOS smartphones and tablets.
$1 billion buys a lot of patent lawyers, and surely a strike now on the back of its famous victory over Samsung is imminent.
I’m looking forward to that Google Doodle.
8. Have another go at Microsoft
You know that judge who threw out Apple’s copyright infringement case against Microsoft over it stealing the Mac OS to make its Windows operating system? He might not have been right. Today a jury made up of people who neighbour Apple’s Cupertino HQ in a courtroom just 9 miles from Jony Ive’s design studio might, you know, think different.
Apple’s clearly got a taste not just of blood but of actually winning legal battles, so another pop at the old enemy would not only be a lot of fun but be potentially even more profitable than accusing Samsung of copying its iOS bounce-back feature.
9. Fix those horribly cludgy iLife applications
I know I have a lot of music and tons of photos but iTunes and iPhoto could do with a lesson in manners when it comes to faster opening times, playing nice with other applications, and, well, not crashing. The function Force Quit was made for these apps.
These programs were once the quiet highlights of a Steve Jobs keynote. Other great Apple software services such as HomePage, iWeb and iDisk have been expelled from our Macs but iTunes is assured a future due to the iPhone and iPad relying on it for syncing, and iPhoto is now getting some iOS love, too.
So how about spending some of that billion on some decent software engineers giving these troublesome tools some much-needed desktop love and attention?
10. Donate it to charity
Everyone used to think Bill Gates was evil incarnate while he ran Microsoft and ran all its opponents into the ground. You’d have guessed his post-Microsoft plans would have been to build an artificial island in the Pacific and bomb the hell out of civilisation.
But as soon as he left he started donating huge chunks of his considerable wealth to causes so good they should have had governments sorting them out – not just one guy, his wife and their riches. Three cheers for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Now even the most zealous Macolyte sees Bill as cuddly and nice, and an all-round good egg.
Steve Jobs may well (or not) have donated privately, and apparently Apple isn’t a total Mr Scrooge, but you wouldn’t know it. Steve is revered but was happy to leave the Earth with a character more stained than a classroom iPad.
Now it’s known as the world’s biggest corporation on the sore backs of impoverished Chinese workers, and an outfit fronted by an army of mean-faced lawyers, Apple could do itself a massive favour by picking up that billion and immediately dropping it off at the back door of an orphanage – or something more financially astute in the charitable sphere.
A Steve Jobs Foundation would be nice. Or better still, just give it to Bill Gates and let him spend it on helping Africa.