CUPERTINO, Calif. ( TheStreet) -- Apple's ( AAPL) blowout first-quarter results have prompted plenty of chatter that the tech giant should pay a dividend. With $97.6 billion in cash and cash equivalents at the end of the quarter, Apple sits atop a huge pile of money. Comments from CEO Tim Cook last year that he was "not religious" about holding Apple's cash, had initially kicked off speculation that a dividend or share buyback could materialize.
Critics of a dividend, however, argue that there are far better ways for Apple to use its cash, pointing to the company's return on equity, need for innovation, and potential future acquisitions. Apple faced repeated questions about its cash haul during the conference call to discuss its first-quarter results late on Tuesday, but gave little away. The company is "actively discussing uses of its cash balance", noted Peter Oppenheimer, Apple's chief financial officer, but said that the tech giant had nothing to announce. Tell us what you think about Apple's cash strategy: --Written by James Rogers in New York. >To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/jamesjrogers. >To submit a news tip, send an email to: email@example.com