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Technology stocks utterly dominate this list of cash-rich companies.
Microsoft(MSFT - Get Report) is another example of one. The Redmond, Wash.-based firm currently boasts a cash and investment position of $63.04 billion, offset by an $11.94 billion debt load. While it may have been unfathomable that dominant Microsoft would be playing a distant second fiddle to Apple among the sector's richest firms just decade ago, Microsoft's cash position is nothing to scoff at.
While Microsoft has been ceding market share to Apple's Macintosh platform over the years, its Windows software still solidly the dominant operating system in the computer business. That success -- and the success of other software packages like Office and its enterprise products -- continues to be a cash cow for Microsoft, even if forays into other businesses (music players and cell phones, for instance) haven't been nearly as successful.
There's been a lot of speculation that Microsoft may buy beleaguered Finnish handset maker
Nokia(NOK) with some of its cash, but I think that's unlikely, and even less good for Microsoft shareholders. While a partnership with Nokia is very beneficial for Microsoft in getting its mobile phone platform on retail shelves, MSFT could build phones for a lot cheaper than the price that Nokia would fetch at a discount right now.
A nearly 3% dividend and a wildly lucrative Windows business should keep Microsoft investors happy for the foreseeable future as long as CEO Steve Ballmer doesn't make any ill-advised acquisitions.
I also featured Microsoft, which shows up on a list of
5 Stocks to Store Away for 5 Years, recently in "
5 Big Stocks Ready to Slingshot Higher."