Apparently, Apple is sitting on more than $15B in cash. Cisco and Microsoft are the only two other companies with as much cash on hand. So what would you do if you were a software / hardware / media company with that much money, and nowhere to spend it? There are really only a few plausible things it can do:
- Buy a competitor and integrate their product into an Apple product
- Buy a company in an entirely new market area and fork out
- Buy infrastructure (buildings, plants, wireless spectra, retail)
Since I’m tired I’m going to list the most interesting possible aquisition for Apple in each category. These are just whimsical conjectures:
Buy something different
If their partnership with Intel (INTC) ever starts to get on their nerves, buying AMD could work just as well. With a current market cap of only 5.02B, AMD brings both expertise in computer processors and video cards to the table. They also make the hardware, a process that could save Apple lots of money if it brought AMD into the fold. In Steve Jobs’ ideal world, everything in an Apple computer would be designed and produced by Apple; this would be one step closer.
Buy something weird
The critical problem with Ikea is that people hate its design, but it’s cheap and effective. Imagine if Apple stretched a little, saved up (they have a 50B market cap, estimated), and eventually bought them. Then Ikea could be producing lovely designs and premium furniture. Its multiple would triple. And, it’s already quite profitable.
Buy something physical
When I mentioned plants above, I bet you were thinking chip fab plants. I was really thinking of large chunks of rainforest which would back an eco-currency that could be traded i.e. sold on the open market. Carbon credits are all the rage, and it would be a beautiful PR stunt. It would also be profitable, at least until we stop burning fossil fuels.
Update: Looks like this is hitting the news again, with 9to5mac rejecting Adobe and the other Ars picks. Play on!
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