Source: Asymco
By Philip Elmer-DeWitt
August 21, 2014

Two years ago, Apple paid its first dividend since 1995. The company has now shelled out roughly:

  • $21.5 billion in dividends
  • $53 billion buying its own shares

.

That’s $74.5 billion that did not pile up in Apple’s coffers — coffers that had grown conspicuously large in Steve Jobs’ time.

Jobs stubbornly resisted Wall Street’s exhortations to use Apple’s excess cash to do something about its undervalued share price. (“The stock will take care of itself,” he famously said.)

Cook was not so stubborn. From his new seat on the board of directors, he launched a massive stock repurchase plan (funded in part by about $29 billion in long-term debt) and authorized a modest dividend.

If Apple hadn’t spent that money, Asymco‘s Horace Dediu shows in the attached chart, its holdings in cash and marketable securities would today be worth $210 billion.

“There are about a dozen companies other than Apple,” he adds, “worth more than that amount.”

LINK: Cash exceptionalism

Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter at @philiped. Read his Apple (AAPL) coverage at fortune.com/ped or subscribe via his RSS feed.

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