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Apple now has 10 percent of all corporate cash

Moody's declares that of all the cash sloshing around in nonfinancial institutions, Apple has the largest chunk, and it's 9.5 percent more than last year.

More cash than even, um, Donald Trump?
James Martin/CNET

Only this morning, I was thinking of updating my kitchen and I thought of calling Tim Cook to see if he's got any money lying around.

I'd heard that Apple had quite a lot of cash stored in pristine white vaults around the world. So perhaps he could toss a little the way of a man who couldn't remember when he'd had his last Miele.

With all the talk of share buybacks and shipping some of the cash from overseas back in beautifully designed boxes, I wasn't sure exactly how much Cupertino might be hoarding.

So I am grateful to The Wall Street Journal for stunning me into disbelief with the news that Apple now has nearly 10 percent of all the money that isn't under the control of highly moral bankers and other highly moral financial institutions.

Moody's calculation of the 1,000 companies that it constantly monitors also reveals that Apple's $147 billion is 9.5 percent more cash than it had in 2012. And it isn't even Christmas.

Corporations in general continue to pile up the reserves. Indeed, Moody's calculates that since the end of 2006, they have stored away an additional 81 percent.

Though technology companies together have amassed $515 billion, Apple has managed to be the undisputed leader in the field.

Carl Icahn tweeted on Tuesday that in a meeting with Cook, he had asked for another $150 billion buyback. Perhaps he needs a new kitchen too.

There is something extraordinary, though, that in an industry that claims to be all about the future, there seems relatively little imagination about what to do with all the money it makes.

Surely at least some of it could be put to magical, revolutionary use somewhere.