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Think different: Apple's $17B debt offers stark contrast to 1996's junk bonds

Gregg Keizer | May 3, 2013
Apple's record-setting $17 billion bond offer this week stood in stark contrast to the company's darkest days, when in 1996 its millions in notes were rated as junk because investors wondered if the company would survive a thrashing by Microsoft

"We have to embrace a notion that for Apple to win, Apple has to do a really good job," said Jobs. "And if others are going to help us, that's great because we need all the help we can get. And if we screw up and we don't do a good job, it's not somebody else's fault. It's our fault."

During the same keynote, Jobs unveiled Apple's newest advertising campaign, dubbed "Think Different."

For the first quarter of 2013, the one most recently reported, Apple recorded total revenue of $43.6 billion, and a profit of $9.5 billion. Meanwhile, the week before, Microsoft announced quarterly revenue of $20.5 billion and profit of $6.1 billion.

On April 26, Microsoft quietly offered $1.95 billion in "AAA"-rated bonds to the U.S. market, and 550 million ($725 million) to the European market. The note issuances received little media coverage.

One more time: How times have changed.

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