Today will be an interesting day for the future of Apple, rather decisive. Tim Cook will give the results of its deliberations on what to do with the nearly one hundred billion dollars they have in cash, resolving a debate that has spent months on the table, dividends to shareholders, invest in financial or spend on entering new businesses ?.
While many analysts suggest that as expected is that Apple begins to pay dividends to shareholders albeit modest or to reaffirm its strategy to have much cash on hand allows great freedom of movement, today we will play with the hypothesis that Apple could go shopping , or looking to expand business by covering potential weaknesses that could impair their third position. What areas and what players could buy Apple? Let’s see …
Payment on the phone, pay with iPhone, iPad receivable
Apple has a great opportunity thanks to the hundreds of millions of iTunes users, those who have something really interesting: your credit card . To this must be added that mobile payment has been installed the last two years as one of the clearest trends with a strong acceleration of innovation. From the traditional players in the sector of payments ( VISA , Mastercard) to the telcos and new entrants such as Paypal, there are many INITIATIVES whose main problem is to combine a good experience in the terminal to have critical mass of users and to agree to everyone involved when you pay something to the terminal.
Apple has not yet entered the NFC , which presents itself as the leading technology in advance for the mobile payment in expecting a much clearer support from Google and Android. With all these ingredients, the company that best fits with Apple’s Square , offering in card reader for iPhone and something else , like a cash register on the iPad . In fact already given preferential treatment from the Apple Store itself .
Cover a weakness: the social web
Apple’s attempt to build a service “social” meant that Ping was bluffing, 2010 . In fact, build from scratch a social network that can compete with established mission seems almost impossible to have much power integration, as demonstrated by the case Google + .
Could Apple be interested to complete the value proposition of services by some kind of social network ? It seems most likely, but taking into account the preferences of integration and historical discussions, we conclude that Facebook is not viewed with favor from the company on the block , which is giving preference to Twitter.
Buy Twitter does not sound like a reasonable step for Apple, spend much money on an online service for business when your focus is on hardware, but it is possible that may arise to be actors and actors also have a promising future. Here the first option would Instagram and “main course” could think of companies such as Path , which does not have many users but a different philosophy to Facebook and company, plus an excellent application design. Plays against the controversial book data of users who came to their servers. Pinterest, Tumblr and Forsquare I see very far for various reasons of Apple.
Content is king
One of the strongest threat to Apple is Amazon , which has gone from being a covered container in the post-pc to its largest competitor in the tablets with Kindle Fire . Amazon’s strategy is clear, at cost hardware looking monetize content by selling later, in a single bet on the market.
The threat to Apple is that Amazon with its “custom Android” begins to build a truly competitive, closer to the best manufacturers to Android, and that their supply of content (books, MP3 music, but also streaming movies and series with Prime ), do the rest. Cook led the company does not have a weakness with iTunes just as the gateway for all who want to sell iPhone and iPad, but it might seek more leadership through acquisitions.
Candidates ? Here we could shuffle Netflix and Hulu especially for premium content, but also Vimeo for video users, strengthening further its quest for independence from Google. Perhaps, though less likely, Spotify for music or some video game industry player, plus a Steam than a creator, could enter the pool.
One of the key issues that are putting on the table all platforms is currently in storage and synchronization services in the cloud. Google’s web services, Microsoft has a strong commitment to Skydrive and Windows 8 , RIM has the Blackberry services associated with Apple … here is your bet icloud fairly clear, so it does not seem likely to need to buy a third. If any one candidate could be Dropbox, although Jobs saw it as a feature and not something that could constitute an independent service.
Thinking beyond network could think and play with the assumption that Apple is still mediated by the mobile telecoms, of which largely depends on the user experience on mobile . Enter this sector is by no means trivial, especially given that are local businesses and that there is a global player that could resolve the ballot, in addition to problems with regulators that it could have. Another scenario would seek to build their own network – something that Google has spent years flirting – or rely on networks with less quality control as FON , which is even less credible: You say not good user experience and is a company in who have invested Skype or Google.
Finally on the cloud, we can think of cloud key for developers, where Amazon has its Web services, Microsoft has Azure and Google App Engine has. This seems less likely that Apple will enter, but there are interesting possibilities in the market as Joyent.
More hardware: television and photography
Apple has weapons in the living room, especially with iPad and airplay , as well as Apple TV, but not in the device player, television . We also more than a year with rumors of his imminent entry into this sector, but everything is so far unknown and therefore could not rule out they purchased a company set up to capture their knowledge and processes. There are not many opportunities, large manufacturers are multi-device (Samsung, LG, Panasonic, Sony) and do not seem the type of purchase that Apple would also have passed opportunities and keep the TV division of Philips.
Then we have the picture where I do not see Apple going to offer cameras, but to safeguard one of the areas where the iPhone is more competitive, your camera. Right now the sensor provides iPhone 4s what Sony is a “competitor-collaborator” in a given time may help to think that Apple is not such a good idea even though a lot of revenue for the health. Samsung is strong in photography, also Nokia, Sony, HTC is stepping up in a major way with the HTC One X , should you buy a Leica or an actor type Fuji to ensure independence?
Apple unlikely purchases
We can think of office and search engines as two areas where Apple or is not the strongest or directly dependent on third parties. In both cases it seems impossible to grow through purchases (Microsoft and Google are references, with some minor player although some promise as Duck Duck Go . We also have the issue of maps, which have already made purchases , also in the field of microprocessors and flash memories , in exercises aimed at ensuring its independence.
In any case, all we have said it is still unlikely. Apple’s strategy in recent years has been to focus and maintain focus on a small portfolio of products and services, rather than seeking to be the company that has it all. In any case, there are times that have 100,000 million dollars in the bank can be a problem: you have secured independence but also a legion of stockholders making demands to do something with them or distribute them or invest them in conquering the future. Today we’ll know more about it.