I am not entirely sure how these figures compare with, for example, the Mafia. However, it seems that Google, which seems like the ultimate cash business, merely has $39.1 billion to spend on, um, new ideas about social networking.
Microsoft used to have more than that. At the end of 2010, its nest egg seems to have numbered $40.23 billion. But its $8.5 billion emotional commitment to Skype may have cut into that.
I am told that the U.S. government's figure is a little less descriptive than Apple's. After all, the government can just print some more dollars using old machines whenever it feels like it. Apple has to make new machines in order to add to its coffers.
I am not among those who believe that government should be run like a business. No CEO has even been elected in a popularity contest. And I fear if some CEOs were to run the country, they would think nothing of eliminating vast numbers of citizens without so much as a batted eyelid.
Still, there is something delicious about the idea that when politicians are behaving with a even greater idiocy than the norm, someone like Jobs might be called in to offer a helping word or two.
The authors describe the scene that ensued: "'I am George Bodenheimer,' he said to Jobs. 'I run ESPN.' Jobs just looked at him and said nothing other than 'Your phone is the dumbest f****** idea I have ever heard,' then turned and walked away."