Rumor mill: With $51B on hand, Apple set for a big acquisition

Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL), which apparently has $51 billion just sitting around, may be poised for a big acquisition. The question of the hour--or perhaps longer--is what would a company that's dominating the Internet, phone and music business want to buy?

The answer might lie in Apple's latest quest to become Apple TV. There's certainly the money there to make a big splash in the media. Apple could bid for NBC Universal, as Comcast has, and still have about $20 billion left over.

The acquisition rumor was fueled by none other than Apple CEO Steve Jobs who made a guest appearance on the company's earnings conference call. When asked what Apple planned to do with all that money, Jobs wasn't coy.

"We strongly believe that one or more very strategic opportunities may come along, that we can take, that we're in a unique position to take advantage of because of our strong cash position," he said. To make certain that he'd been heard right, he later added, "I think that we would like to continue to keep our powder dry because we do feel that there are one or more strategic opportunities in the future."

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