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Apple's cash quintupled in last four years and doubled in last two years.

During the last quarter the company added $5.2 billion to its cash, long- and short-term marketable securities accounts for a total of $51 billion. This amounts to about $53 per share vs. $49.43 per share in July (making the share price about $250 ex-cash).

I would caution again that when reading commentary about Apple’s cash that many observers exclude long-term securities from the “cash” total.

To see the difference in the total, this chart breaks out the three different accounts over time.

Note that without long-term securities, the cash wold appear to have stayed roughly constant since Q4 2008.

Also note that in the third quarter of 2006 the company had just crossed $10 billion. The cash equivalents are now over five times bigger. The amount also doubled since Q3 2008. It is the largest cash hoard of any technology company.

The question of what this cash will be used for remains open with management repeating that opportunities might arise to do something big.