Time for Apple to use some of their $18 billion war chest?

“Buyouts have always been the primary exit strategy for high-tech startups – even before the IPO market dried up – and the tech giants that can make them happen seem to have both the wherewithal and the appetite. Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer has already said he plans to buy 20 companies a year for the next half-decade. Google, which never saw a cool new idea it didn’t love, has snapped up almost three dozen companies in the past three years and has billions left to spend. Even Apple’s Steve Jobs, a notorious tightwad, is under pressure to do something with the $15 billion war chest he’s accumulated,” Fortt reports.

MacDailyNews Note: Apple has $9.162 billion in cash and cash equivalents and $9,286 in short-term investments. There are more assets, of course, but those alone add up to over $18.5 billion. Apple had $15.4 billion in the same columns on September 29, 2007. In 90 days, they added $3.1 billion in cash, cash equivalents, and short-term investments. But, “everyone sell,” Apple has no future. wink

“With that in mind, we picked the brains of our favorite analysts, touched base with a few Valley wise men, threw in a dash of guesswork, and came up with a shopping list for the three tech power players with the most cash sitting in the bank,” Fortt reports.

“Steve Jobs is almost aggressively unacquisitive. While Apple occasionally buys some innovative software or hardware from a startup, there’s no record of his buying any companies outright since 2002. But here’s a bet that could polish his company’s image: Green Plug, an outfit that promises to save energy while solving the perennial problem of the power adapter. Green Plug’s computer-on-a-chip technology adjusts to whatever device it’s connected to, allowing a single power cord to charge, say, a MacBook, an iPod, and an iPhone. If Apple were to adopt this new plug system – as it did earlier with FireWire and USB – and it caught on as an industry standard, we wouldn’t have to throw out our old transformers whenever we buy a new electronic toy,” Fortt reports.

“Apple might also take a look at Move Networks, a company whose technology has become Hollywood’s favorite way to stream and manage high-definition content. Apple is moving aggressively to expand its digital video offerings on the iTunes Store, and although it already controls several leading video standards through its family of QuickTime products, Move’s system would allow it to take several important steps forward. Not only does Move deliver high-quality video faster, but it also offers content publishers a way to keep track of how many viewers are watching and for how long – something that will be necessary if anybody is going to make money putting digital video online,” Fortt reports.

More in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]

40 Comments

  1. Apple ‘under pressure to spend’? Rubbish.

    After all Apple did buy CoverFlow last year or the year before..!

    But there aren’t many things out that Apple isn’t able to do for itself.

    So why bother?

  2. I was just thinking, M$ is doing good because PC makers don’t have any viable alternative, except maybe some version of Linux.
    I know we have been through this before, but what if
    Apple decided to sell OS X to PC makers this year?
    I bet most of them including Dell and Sony would make a switch.
    Outlook for M$ wouldn’t be so good, I don’t think they could survive something like this.
    Apple has a lot of cash right now and could risk it, they have other cash cows besides Mac line, this is not like the 90’s situation so it could work.
    Maybe Apple could buy Sony and sell them Apples…Sonys with OS X pre-installed

  3. They’re not going to take on adobe, it’s not going to happen. Adobe is too expensive to buy.

    As soon as a startup company makes a software that is competing against photoshop or the other smaller components that make up Adobe’s business, Apple would be snapping those up cheaply and building that into their business.

    If there are a lot of supporter for naked light, chances are apple may be buying that.

    Apple buying Adobe has the same probability as Apple releasing a mid-range head-less mac.

  4. They could write better software for a small fraction of what it would cost to buy Adobe. Now that would be a better use of cash. (Of course, the first 2 generations would suck (too simple).)

    MW: making [it now, I hopes]

  5. Adobe is not something Apple is likely to purchase, it doesn’t fit with SJ’s philosophy. Adobe is an elephant, and elephants don’t gallop. Adobe pretty much has a stale market. Apple buys and devs niche tech that can be exploited to the mass market via a good front end, itunes, ipod, iphone etc. If Apple were to buy a company to compete with Adode in some markets, where’s the growth going to come from? Apple is already strong in video production etc and photoshop’s a dead end. It’s one of the most complex pieces of software available. Do you think Apple wants that millstone? Look for Apple to buy into growing markets not stagnating ones. Think wireless (Macbook Air), new battery or plug tech, SSD, wireless charging etc

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