Why would a company that just had the most profitable quarter in business history want to take on an extra $1 billion in debt? Because Europe’s record low interest rates make it impossible to say no to the cash. Apple can take the money it raises in a Swiss franc bond sale and increase dividends for its shareholders. And also increase its move to buy back shares.
When a company has as much money as Apple, it’s not just a tech company, it’s a financial company–and sometimes it functions like an investment bank. Apple takes a measured risk that the Swiss franc will rise in value against the dollar, but even the downside of such a risk poses no real threat to Apple, which is flush with cash. Worst case scenario is the deal doesn’t work out as profitably as hoped — but Apple’s day-to-day operations are completely insulated from these kinds of financial maneuvers.