So it came out last week that Apple had been saving a bit of money.  They are likely going to buy something and the internet blew up with ideas on what that should be.  Ars came up with Adobe, Tivo, Nintendo.  We aren’t feeling any of those – here’s why:

  • Adobe – there is too much overlap in products.  Final Cut/Premiere.  Aperture/Lightroom, etc, etc.  Adobe has a great portfolio of applications but overall the line isn’t close enough to Apple’s core competency.  Plus the two companies aren’t getting along that well anymore.  Adobe is also pricey.
  • Tivo – It is a great technology for the next 3-5 years.  Soon though, networks will be broadcasting their content over the net by themselves.  The technology to leverage advertising will make them more than the currently falling costs of broadcasting over the net – so it won’t matter.  As someone who has to watch college football on a slingbox, I say hurry the fsck up.
  • Nintendo – great idea, but they are too expensive.  Any buyout of Nintendo would have to be more like a merger.  Can you see Steve Jobs agreeing to a merger and taking in top management?  Us neither.

So, we’ve come up with three companies that Apple should buy – and which they actually have a shot at.  Yep, telecoms:

  • Clearwire.  Fresh off their split from Sprint talks, Clearwire is looking for some more dough.  Apple has 15 billion reasons why they should come into the Apple fold.  Oh, btw, WiMAX is great match for Apple’s new mobile platform.
  • Skype – Recently devalued and a bargain.  Ebay is looking for a buyer.   Over 100 million users.  VOIP.  Phone Numbers.  iPod, iPhone, tablets…it all makes much more sense.
  • 700MHz spectrum.  Not a company per se – but a huge amount of power in the telecommunications industry for the next 20+ years.  Apple would likely partner with Google and a few other technology giants (MS?) on snapping this up.  It goes without saying that tech companies are sick of letting the telecoms tell them how they can use and sell their products.  This will be an interesting auction.  NFL draft, eat your heart out.
  • EDIT – didn’t think of it but makes perfect sense.  a Studio!  Maybe they even roll their own.  With the other studios starting to give up on Apple and in some cases giving preferential treatment to other online distributors (see Amazon’s DRM free music from Universal), it might be time for Apple to move down the value chain a little.  Apple has one of the biggest distribution channels on Earth in iTunes and can offer new artists a really big, hip audience in a tenth of the time it takes traditional studios to get content out.  Oh.  And why just music?  El Jobso knows a few things about running a movie studio (Pixar). – thanks D-Jents

Will Apple put its feet into the telecom world?  $15 billion is a whole lot more fun to spend than distribute to shareholders.  Maybe we’ll get some news at Macworld on January 14-18. OH btw- the telecom auction is on Jan 17. ;)



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