Apple might be the most secretive technology gadget maker on planet earth but just as astronomers can determine where something in heavens is without actually seeing in a telescope, maybe we can divine a few drops of Apple elixir by what CEO Tim Cook is doing elsewhere.
Here’s a good example. A month or so ago the Chinese government halted iTunes movies and iBooks in China. Why? Because China. It’s what they do over there. Think of it as whack-a-mole with a purpose; not to whack all the moles, but to whack one, to get the other moles to cough up some jack. Guess what Apple did?
Tit, For Tat, Mr. Mole
Whack-a-Mole is a game of frustration. No matter how fast you are at whacking a mole, another one pops up to giggle and snort and tease and taunt. China’s government stopped a modest source of revenue for Apple by stopping iTunes movies and iBooks, but the event was heard loud and clear. Instead of hitting the mole, Apple decided the play ball (I found a sale on mixed metaphors at Macy’s), China’s way.
Just weeks after iTunes movies and iBooks were banned by the government, Apple’s Cook, out of nowhere and for no real apparent reason, decided to invest $1-billion in China’s Uber competitor Didi. In this case the math works. Apple put two and two together, and today a bunch of Chinese folks are happier than they were last week.
Why does Apple need Didi Chuxing?
Money is something like water. It flows downhill faster than uphill, and it’s easily spread over a wide area. Does anyone doubt that the Chinese government’s ban on iTunes movies and iBooks was merely a whack on a mole to get Apple to pay up elsewhere and turn loose of some of those billions that were earned from products made in China?
Apple, the ever secretive technology giant, needs friends in high places, and the Chinese government could be a good friend. Why does Cook plan to visit China later this month? To spread some good will seeds in the hopes of growing some Chinese trees to provide the shade and comfort Apple needs in years to come. Ride sharing is a big deal in China. Apple needs China, perhaps to help design and build an Apple Car which could become the ultimate ride-sharing device on demand.
What Cook Hides
Apple’s $1-billion investment in Didi Chuxing should tell us that Cook is not afraid to make deals so we can expect more to come. Apple has the money and China wants some of it back. Look for more investments this year and next as Apple’s executives open up both the coffers and the attitude that our favorite iPhone maker cannot rule the world all by itself.
Apple needs friends. Cook has money. See the connection?
Cook hasn’t said much about Apple’s product future but Apple Car is California’s worst kept secret since Intel Inside, so we can expect Apple to use some of that hard-earned cash to cut deals with partners who can help the company learn to grow without the iPhone.