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Cash-rich, imagination poor?

It stunned me to read that the 80 technology players comprising the Standard and Poor’s index have $229 billion in cash and equivalents on their balance sheets (reportedly more than 2 times what they had at the end of bubble-year 1999). Depressingly, what are they doing with all that cash? Stock buybacks, acquisitions and dividends — things shareholders like, but that don’t necessarily create opportunities for the future. Indeed, one used to buy technology companies for growth, not for cash out. And yet, I constantly hear leaders in high-tech companies complain that they don’t have the resources to manage both today’s shareholder expectations and meet tomorrow’s growth needs.Perhaps the agenda should include more investment in time for the kinds of opportunity identification MarketBusting suggests.

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