Earlier this week, we talked about the fact that Google Ventures is looking to deploy $1 bn in capital into the start-up world. Should Apple be thinking like this?

Both companies are cash rich, and now that Steve Jobs is no longer at the helm of Apple, it has announced a dividend and a buyback, part of a plan to return $45 bn to investors over the next three years. Of course, Henry Blodget of Business Insider notes, this is a drop in the bucket, given the rate at which Apple generates cash.

So, it looks like the Cupertino company needs to come up with some other solutions.

Historically, Apple hasn’t been a big wheeler-dealer, likely because of the importance it places on its culture: acquisitions don’t always yield the right people. For this reason, a venture capital play may be more prudent. It would allow the company to put its cash to work without leading to the disruption of its culture. In fact, it could even become a way to finance research and development, allowing the company to buy products without necessarily having to acquire the talent that created them.

Apple needs to make its cash productive, and the Silicon Valley start-up world is a ready solution.

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