Apple alone represents $64 billion or 36% of the total $179 billion increase in corporate cash since 2009. And in 2011, overall corporate cash would have actually declined by $6 billion had it not been for Apple’s $46 billion increase.… Supported by our expectations that consumers worldwide will continue to feast on Apple products, we expect overall corporate cash and its concentration will increase in 2012. Apple alone could represent 12% of total corporate cash, about three times more than the next cash king.
Retaining earnings is normal in the tech industry. But, usually, the tech industry companies that retain their earnings reinvest it in something. Apple has vast amounts of cash but no ideas so great that it can find something to spend that cash upon. Its balance sheet looks more like an insurance company maintaining reserves for future losses than a manufacturing company.