Sunday, February 17, 2008

Apple + Sony + Yahoo = Merger Schmerger

The blogsphere is all abuzz about Apple buying out Yahoo or Sony as potential targets to spend its warchest of $18 billion or whatever it is now.

Pure bunk I say.

I have yet to see anyone present a viable case where Apple would receive real value for any of those acquisitions. Both of these companies would endure a tremendous amount of culture clashing and probably would end up being worth less than the sum of their parts.

Don't believe me? Go to Yahoo!'s website and see if it reflects the clean minimalism that Apple loves to portray. Not even close. And it's too far away from Apple's core business to make sense. 

The same goes for Sony, although their US website is pretty clean with nice flash. But Sony's business is so diversified that I think it would choke Apple's creativity to work through the multi-layered corporate structure at Sony.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest that Apple's acquisitions tend to be small companies where they can integrate a product or technology seamlessly into the ecosystem that they are building. That has been Apple's strategy since Steve Jobs came back in 1997. It's more than selling a computer or iPod. It's about a total user experience that pulls the pieces together in a transparent fashion.

Witness Apple's deal with AT&T and the iPhone, then Starbucks, and then those two companies band together to provide valuable Wi-Fi across the country that increases the value proposition of owning an iPhone. It's this kind of thinking that is providing unique and valuable services to customers today as opposed to a hodge-podge of products and services that require a lot of tinkering on the customer side to get to work. And a pile of gobblely-gook to explain.

Right now, Apple can use it's flush bank account to fund research and innovation through an economic downturn, exactly what they did last time. What could the next version of OS X, the next iPhone, or the next digital device do to bring more customers to their base? 

Apple is smart to stick to their guns and buy companies that add value to their core offerings. So let's end this merger talk and continue to root for a decent Exchange client for the iPhone.

No comments: