Cash hoard piles ever higher at top tech firms

Though companies like Apple Inc., Cisco Systems Inc. and Microsoft Corp. have vastly different business models and skill sets, they have all become particularly adept at one activity: printing money.

In fact, high-tech firms in general now rank among the richest corporations, thanks to strong growth in earnings and operating cash flows over the last 12 months.

Four tech companies -- Apple, Microsoft, Cisco and Google now sit on the largest cash piles in the S&P 500, excluding financial-services firms. The numbers reflect the quarter ending March 31, with the exception of Cisco, which just reported results for the period ended May 1.

These four companies had a combined bank account nearing $147 billion -- enough to bail Greece out.

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