Originally Posted by mstone
One of the things that is different about the PC Mac comparison is that almost from the very beginning people were making PCs at home from parts which were readily available, as was a copy of DOS. This was not possible with Apple computers for which parts and ROMs were tightly controlled, which may have been Apple's mistake. Because of that grass roots PC following and eventually IT departments who were able to repair and trouble shoot PCs without a certified dealer's help, Microsoft based computers became widespread very quickly.
The difference now is that you can't make your own smartphone from parts and you can't make a call without a carrier. Since the iPhone is no more expensive than the alternative, Android, it is all about the best phone for the money.
There's another thing you can't do now even if you're a big company: buy many of even the standardized key parts in quantity, because Apple is locking up the supply with mass future orders. Like 10" screens in 2010 - which make you have to pretend 7" was what you really wanted in the first place. Or flash memory in 2007-8.
Originally Posted by jason98
I wonder who they are going to buy. Got to be Nokia for all their IP.
Originally Posted by penchanted
I keep trying to envision a sensible large purchase for Apple; the only thing that I can ever come up with is Sony. But, really, Apple likely doesn't want Sony, just Sony Music Entertainment and Sony Pictures Entertainment. Not to mention that such a purchase might create problems dealing with other content providers.
Originally Posted by melgross
The problem with most big companies is that they're in businesses Apple doesn't want to be in, or that conflict with their plans and needs, or with that of other companies Apple is partners with. Usually, the bigger the company, the more this will be true.
Originally Posted by poke
Cook mentioned that they're investing in a particular area of technology, much like they have in processor development and flash storage, but wouldn't say what it was. I think it's likely he was talking about display technology.
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich
They'd be wise to secure the most wide-ranging collection of multi-touch and telephony patents available... Clearly the future is iPhone and iPad.
Expanding the patent portfolio makes some sense, but otherwise, like melgross and penchanted I've always found most of the speculation about Apple acquiring other high-profile companies (Adobe, Sony, Nokia, RIM, etc.) who also market to end-users tough to swallow. Clash of corporate cultures, loss of synergies, span of control issues, product lines and divisions to simply close down, etc., etc.). I also don't see how getting into the cellco (or cable) or dramatic content creation businesses really benefits them, and might even hobble them.
Netflix is frequently mentioned, but their access to the product of all the studios the do have is not secure (or so I've read), and they might lose more rights from media companies who are already leery of Apple's leverage over their businesses. A gaming company might fit in the mix somewhere, though (I never play, so whadda' I know?).
And I've always thot that convergence is going to soon involve higher quality cameras that are also everything else other Apple Mobiles are. But that might not require a camera company acquisition. Tons of companies have shown there's not much barrier to entry into the digital camera biz. Olympus, though, might be a reasonably pure play. How would you like a micro 4/3 camera with interchangeable lenses (plus other sophisticated phone-size P&S cameras) and ubiquitous internet connectivity that would send your RAW shots and 1080p video over LTE 4G to Aperture running on your iPad 3 or the successor to today's MB Airs? Where you'd have access to all your other media for editing in soundtracks and more? As well as the cameras having their own apps and other iOS 6 features. Nikon would be less tidy to swallow, but one never knows - if they're looking in that direction.
In any case, you have to think of Apple as a global company now, and thus their acquisitions are likely to made with an eye toward companies and technologies which advance them globally, not just in the US or a few countries.
Infrastructure probably makes the most immediate sense, though, i.e., PA-Semi and Intrinsity show their mindset. Apple's always liked control over their own software AND hardware, and they're in a position to gain more. So, yeah, an innovative display tech company or a maker of the type of silicon acting as MB Air drives, e.g. Or a company making, as alluded to above, key camera parts, if not a camera company. Or bleeding edge manufacturers of the other key parts in their mobile products, e.g., batteries, radios, etc. (assuming there's ways to differentiate themselves by doing so as there was with the A4, otherwise, why bother? Except to avoid supply bottlenecks - but any such company they buy is going to have to have a strong R&D effort or they'll be marginalized in time for that component line).
Other plays in the component area, though, might raise anti-trust concerns and involve behemoths, e.g., Intel or NVidia. I don't know enough about AMD's breadth, patent hand or true viability to comment on them, but the ATI properties seem to have value. Still, there are issues with any of these.
They could probably also buy as much of the companies that assemble their products as China and others will allow, but that also poses problems. Consider Foxconn (spelling?) and its workers jumping from windows (in which company or a similar one, forgive my lack of research, they may already have a stake). Apple as key stockholder would probably be under conflicting pressures from labor activists and the whole Chinese gov't-industrial establishment in terms of wages and working conditions and either shrink their own margins, be the target of political action and public relations warfare, or in time cause general inflation in China's electronics (and eventually other) industries.
And just to cover the bases, they still seemed disinclined to dive deeply into any area of enterprise computing as closing down XServe indicates.
Happy quandries to have enough cash to worry about, in any case. We shall see.
Originally Posted by Haggar
If Apple is not worried about "cannibalization" then they should have no problem selling that midrange Mac tower that people have been asking for.
You MMRM (Mythical Mid-Range Mac) guys love to keep suffering, as you keep the faint candle of hope burning, don't you? (And I know because I was one for a long time.)
Look at the sales trends - that's where Apple goes - not into static mature slow growth or declining areas. If they finally give us one, it would have to be as a gift to long-suffering Mac geeks, not a real business decision.
Originally Posted by Postulant
I wonder what it feels like to have 60 billion in cash...
Probably what the Apple executive suite and board feels like: "King of the (tech) World!!"
Originally Posted by melgross
$60 billion in cash........ What to do. What to do.
Originally Posted by anantksundaram
Simple answer. Return $55B (~$60/share) to shareholders in the form of a special dividend. Damn shareholder tax consequences. Start cash pile from scratch.
I surmise that the stock (less the obvious arithmetic effect of smaller cash balance) will zoom.
You may know (far) more about technology and using it than I do, and you do have SOME fiscal knowledge, so no personal offense, but tell me you're not running a company I may be invested in or co-ordinating fiscal, tax or monetary policy for a government. Dear God(dess)(e)(s). Not enough storage space on AI's servers to deconstruct such economic/market/management malarkey.
Originally Posted by mstone
If you look at it in comparison to movie theaters during the depression of 1929 there are similarities. In the case of movie theaters, they had just introduced sound at that time and people although hurting from the economic situation afforded themselves a single luxury of going to the movies once a week. While other businesses failed, movie theaters with sound
Similarly Apple introduced a revolutionary advancement in cell phone technology and although we find ourselves in a similar economic condition, we afford ourselves the simple luxury of this new gadget.
History. Context. A fresh take. Yaay! (Those things are often rarer than hen's teeth around here.)