While the latest annual report from Apple lacks any startling revelations, it still contains a few tasty morsels for Apple watchers to chew on.
What’s notable in most cases is how the company continues to grow and expand, even in a year that saw its first annual revenue decline since 2001. If anything, the company is placing bigger and bigger bets on its future.
R&D: Apple continues to ramp up investment in R&D. In fiscal year 2016, R&D spending grew to $10 billion, up from $8.1 billion last year and $6 billion in 2014. It has significantly closed the gap with Microsoft’s R&D spending, though the Seattle giant still outspent Apple with $12 billion in its most recent fiscal year.
Employment growth continued, but slowed slightly: Last year, the company reported that it grew from 92,600 full-time equivalent employees in September 2014 to 110,000 FTEs in September 2015. In 2016, it grew to 116,000 FTEs. In 2014, it had added more than 13,000 FTEs. So it’s cut the pace for the moment.
Land, ho: But that hiring pace may change eventually. In 2016, the amount of space owned or leased by Apple grew to 29.4 million square feet from 25.6 million square feet in 2015. The company now owns a total of 2,583 acres of land, mostly in the U.S., up from 1,757 acres in 2015. Looking down the road, the company said it spent $30.6 billion acquiring property in 2016, compared to $9 billion last year.
Taking stock: Apple has spent $133 billion buying back its stock as of September 30, 2016, up from $104 billion at the end of last fiscal year.
Irish taxes: Apple noted that the E.U. had ordered Ireland to collect as much as $14.5 billion in taxes from the company. However, Apple also pointed out that if and when Ireland exhausts any appeals of that ruling and sends Apple a bill, the company will likely apply that amount to its U.S. tax bill to receive a tax credit (or reimbursement) here. That may help reduce the sting a bit.
Overseas cash: Apple’s money held outside the U.S. grew to $216 billion in 2016 from $186.9 billion in 2015. It says it would use overseas money to pay any Irish tax penalty, which seems enormous but would likely amount to something less than a flesh wound financially speaking.