More on Apple’s Billions: This Time, It’s iTunes

Billions and billions. It’s a theme that has accompanied me all week. In fact, I imagine I know a little how Carl Sagan must have felt. After writing about Apple’s (s aapl) billions just a few days ago, here I am again — but this time it’s not data centers and custom silicon — it’s music.

We reported here back in early February that Apple was running its 10 Billion Song Countdown Contest. Yesterday afternoon, as Steve Jobs was (probably not) blowing out the fifty five candles on his birthday cake, the odometer stopped when, according to The Loop, Louie Sulcer of Woodstock, Georgia, downloaded Guess Things Happen That Way by Johnny Cash.

The download likely earned Johnny Cash the usual pittance in royalties, while Sulcer became the lucky recipient of a $10,000 iTunes Gift Card from Apple.

Naturally, I’m insanely jealous. Read More about More on Apple’s Billions: This Time, It’s iTunes

Apple’s Billions and Billions

Yesterday, the New York Times published an article examining what it refers to as the upcoming “war” between computer chip manufacturers. It’s an interesting read if you’re desperately into that sort of thing, but what’s most compelling is the assertion that Apple (s aapl) probably invested at least a billion dollars in the iPad’s custom silicon.

As we reported here, Apple bought chip manufacturer P.A. Semi back in April 2008 for a cool $278 million, ostensibly to acquire the company’s engineering talent and manufacturing expertise, and, perhaps, the use of its existing facilities to produce its own custom-designed chips. Perhaps this helped save Apple a little money up-front, if the NYT’s is correct about the development costs of the chips alone;

Even without the direct investment of a factory, it can cost […] about $1 billion to create a smartphone chip from scratch.

Does this mean Apple saved a cool seven hundred million dollars when it bought P.A. Semi? If you’re a company with almost forty billion dollars in the bank, finding the ready cash to develop your own groundbreaking processor doesn’t seem quite such a mammoth undertaking. And I’ll be the first to admit I’m likely oversimplifying the whole thing, but y’know, that Jobs fellow is a wily old fox… Read More about Apple’s Billions and Billions