Apple, by now, has passed the amazing $100 billion mark in near-term and long-term cash and equivalents. I thought it would be fun to take some guesses as to what Apple might do with all of it.
The easiest guess is they won’t do anything. The company was very close to going bankrupt in 1997 and maybe it wants to horde cash to ensure its future safety. Somewhere on Apple’s campus there has got to be a Scrooge McDuck room, you know the one filled with cash that he’d swim through? Man, that’d be fun. (McDuck was hard-core though. He swam through coins. That’s gotta be rough on the skin.)
Or maybe Apple wants to give huge cash dividends to their stockholders… Ha! That’s funny.
The most likely guess is that it wants to control supply lines. Hard to compete when Apple buys up all the gorilla glass or flash memory. They’ve done this before.
Maybe Apple wants to buy out the US government. (It seems to be for sale anyway. Of course, it would probably be cheaper just to buy California.) There are laws, you say? Since when do those seem to matter? There are enough loopholes in campaign finance laws to drive a Mac truck through. Apple could find a way. With that it can move its factories back to the States by abolishing all labor laws, especially the minimum wage. Unemployment is high and housing is still expensive. Apple could start their own “Apple cities” where people would clamor to get jobs on the assembly line building iPhones and iPads in exchange for free, dormitory housing. It could be like the military but with fewer guns.
Or maybe Apple will buy Silicon Valley and spin it out into its own country. Then Apple could kick Google out and tell them to find a new home.
What if Apple bought a carrier? This has been speculated about before and frankly, I just don’t see it as Apple’s style. Maybe they’d buy all the cell towers in the world and then they could do what they want with them. Buying a carrier makes no sense (does any of this post?) since they are local and Apple sells devices worldwide.
How about Samsung? Man, would that piss off Google or what? I don’t know how the US Justice Department would feel about this one. Besides, they’d only buy them to shut it down. Oh, forget Samsung! Why not buy Google?
What if Apple bought a cable carrier? They’d own distribution rights but it might give Apple a content deal that would let them negotiate with the rest of the country. Instead of distributing through cable boxes Apple could stream channels as podcasts through iTunes. You’d just “subscribe” to whichever show you’d want to watch and it would be sitting in your account ready to watch. Maybe this is what Steve Jobs in biography said he’d figured out about Apple TV. He didn’t mean the technology to control it. He meant the content.
Education is a mess and Apple just announced a huge education initiative geared around text books. That’s, what, 65 million US customers alone. Maybe buying the entire text book industry for $20 billion and then giving away (or making really cheap) all of their content would pay off. Even if it didn’t pay off for Apple, it sure would pay off for the US.
Apple could buy Netflix. Ah, okay. Don’t know why they would. Apple never buys and keeps brands.
I’ve got one: what if Apple bought Disney. That’d be fun, wouldn’t it? Plus the symbolism would be awesome. Steve Jobs buys Pixar, Steve Jobs comes back to Apple, Disney buys Pixar (making Steve Jobs the largest shareholder), Apple buys Disney. Fun! Apple would be in a pretty powerful position, owning cable and regular channels as well as movies. We always talk about Apple controlling the next generation. What better way to do it then to own all the movies these kids love. And think of the deals. Suddenly every Disney and Pixar movie is $5 to own or $.99 to rent. ESPN would be available for $20 per year for anyone with an Apple TV. It might force the rest of the cable and movie business to match pricing or risk losing the rest of their subscribers. Hmm… This one might make too much sense for this article.
It’s impossible to know but it sure is fun to speculate!