Top five Apple cash acquisitions: Hulu, Adobe, Sprint, HTC, Samsung
July 24, 2011 by Beatweek
Apple is sitting on enough cash on hand to buy several of its competitors and have enough left over to buy several small nations. No, really. Seventy-eight billion dollars in cash is an alarming amount of rainy-day savings, and while Steve Jobs says the company is saving it for when it really wants to put it to good use rather than frittering it away in the mean time, there are several ways in which Apple could put that moola to use right now which might benefit the company. From former friend Adobe, to future partner Sprint, to little-understood Hulu, to competitors HTC and Samsung, here’s a look at five companies Apple could acquire right now for cash, along with the pros and cons of each.
Hulu: This site streams free ad-supported episodes of popular TV shows and was created by the television studios in an attempt to weaken Apple’s power at the iTunes bargaining table.
Pros: It would eliminate a competitor which was specifically designed to harm it, and it would gain the favorable contracts the TV studios and networks gave Hulu back when they thought they were going to use it as a puppet. Apple could fold all of this into its existing iTunes TV efforts.
Cons: Hulu is little-understood outside of those who use it, and it’s having trouble finding advertisers. Apple would be buying a sinking ship in the hopes of scrapping it for parts. Here’s more on Apple buying Hulu.
Adobe: Apple and Adobe were best buds in the eighties, until the latter decided it would begin handicapping the Mac versions of its products like Photoshop to keep them dumbed down and “equal” to their Windows counterparts. Things got uglier recently when Adobe acquired the dying Flash technology as part of a larger merger, and inexplicably decided Flash is the future. Apple has since banned Flash from iPhone and iPad devices.
Pros: Apple could remove Flash from the Creative Suite and help cripple usage of Flash in future website development. Apple could also turn its own programmers loose on the Mac version of Creative Suite and turn it into the kind of amazing tool it would have been if Adobe hadn’t decided to kneecap it in order to avoid hurting Windows users’ feelings.
Cons: Apple would need to continue developing the Windows version of Creative Suite, or face the rise of a competing technology within that vacuum.
Sprint: Once AT&T finishes acquiring T-Mobile, Sprint will be the only U.S. carrier which doesn’t offer the iPhone now that Verizon also has the iPhone.
Pros: By acquiring Sprint, Apple could get the iPhone 5 onto the carrier on Apple’s terms. It could also transform Sprint into the kind of cellphone carrier which would be up to Apple’s usual standards, which otherwise does not exist in the United States.
Cons: Sprint will also soon be the only carrier without a 4G LTE network, so Apple would need to build one from scratch. Also, acquiring Sprint would royally tick off current iPhone 5 partners AT&T and Verizon, with the results being unpredictable.
HTC and Samsung: Both companies are faceless component manufacturing giants for hire. Both companies also make faceless Android based phones and tablets. Apple is also in the midst of suing both companies for having blatantly stolen iPhone and iPad technologies for use on their Android products.
Pros: Apple acquires one or both of these companies, and it suddenly has far more control over its own component supply chain. No more depending on the whim of a hated “partner” in order to get the next iPhone or iPad out the door on time.
Cons: Both Samsung and HTC have major business manufacturing and selling components to other phone and tablet companies, among other components. Apple would want no part of this and need to shut down and write off that side of either company’s business, which would represent a major loss to swallow. Not that Apple can’t afford it. Here’s more on the iPhone 5.