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Steve Jobs says Apple must 'think big' with $40 billion in cash


Apple co-founder Steve Jobs told investors at Thursday's shareholder meeting that his company's massive war chest of $40 billion gives it security and flexibility, but while a stock buy-back won't drive up AAPL shares, making big and bold moves will.

The CEO did not, however, indicate how Apple intends to use its stockpile of cash and securities. According to Reuters, Jobs told investors that he believed putting the money into a dividend or share buyback would not influence the price of AAPL stock. The meeting was held Thursday at Apple's corporate campus in Cupertino, Calif.

Instead, Jobs reportedly said Apple must "think big" in order to move its stock price higher.

In addition, Bloomberg reported that Jobs said Apple is holding on to its cash for "big, bold" risks. Apple revealed in its first quarter 2010 investor conference call that it had accrued $39.8 billion in cash by the end of the December quarter.

A year ago, Jobs was absent from the annual shareholder meeting due to health issues. He eventually returned to work at Apple in June, after a successful liver transplant.

Philip Elmer-DeWitt of Fortune Brainstorm Tech noted from Thursday's shareholder meeting that Jobs looked good, answered a majority of the shareholders' questions, and was "feisty" and funny. When one person asked what keeps Jobs awake at night, he responded: "Shareholder meetings."

A question regarding iPhone exclusivity with AT&T in the U.S. was also reportedly shot down without comment. Avon CEO Andrea Jung, the new co-lead director of the Apple Board of Directors, joked that Tipper Gore, wife of board member and former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, should join them on the board to expand the female presence.

Shareholders also voted down proposed environmental measures that were intended to make the company do more to analyze its impact on the environment. The two plans would have had Apple do thorough annual reports and form a committee to focus on environmental sustainability.