Historically, Apple’s acquisitions have been strategic in nature– bringing in needed technology or talent– rather than historic; say, by buying a company like Adobe. Apple’s history and current methodology is obvious. The company is a premium brand, so why would Apple buy a company that is already dying?
Not Now, Not Ever
A recent analysis suggested that Apple needs to expand the customer base by selling products for less; making affordable products below the iPhone and iPad.
The example given was that Apple should buy BlackBerry’s brand. After all, the brand is well known, the price would be low (as in bargain basement), and, well, I can’t see any other reasons.
A Bizarro Apple could sell BlackBerry branded smartphones and tablets with iOS and expand the company’s domain into the mid-tier of smartphone and tablet makers. Or, so the story goes. You know, because Android is winning.
Buying BlackBerry (or the name ‘BlackBerry’) is a perfect example of what Apple absolutely will not do ever. Stick that idea into the same festering landfill where licensing the Mac OS, or selling a cheap iPhone reside. It won’t happen.
In fact, there isn’t much of a history of success with other such ventures in the tech world. Recently, Google bought Motorola. How’s that working out so far?
Learn From The Past
Remember HP and Compaq? Or, HP and Palm? Who? Yahoo bought GeoCities. Who? Exactly. AT&T spent $100-billion on cable company TCI. Who? Microsoft pent $6-billon on aQuantive to compete with Google’s DoubleClick purchase. How’d that work out? Yahoo also spent $5-billion on Broadcast.com so Mark Cuban could buy some expensive toys, otherwise that was a major bust. Remember AT&T’s buyout of NCR? How about AOL and Time Warner?
To be fair, some buyouts work out, and some look good but are not– and one of them involved Apple. In late 1996 the company bought Steve Jobs’ NeXT and that acquisition brought with it untold riches and prominence over the next 25 years. Then again, Google spent about $50-million to buy Andy Rubin’s Android, now the world’s largest smartphone platform, and officially the tech industry’s largest and most expensive albatross.
Why Bother With Road Kill?
Should Apple buy BlackBerry’s carcass? Why? What’s the compelling reason for Apple to part with a few billion dollars on a company with little value, either technologically, or in the marketplace? For BlackBerry, it’s all over but the funeral. A mid-tier market of less expensive iOS-based smartphones and tablets means lower revenue and profit per device, which would simply cannibalize Apple’s bread and butter for revenue and profit, exactly the same way that licensing Mac OS back in the 1990s almost brought the company to bankruptcy.
Who among us would not want a BMW 6 or 7 series at a Toyota Corolla price? Or, a Tesla at the price of a Prius? The desire is obvious, but the reality is math. All the wishing and hoping and dreaming in the world won’t make it happen. Apple builds premium products and changing that formula for the sake of market share won’t make Apple more profitable or more competitive.