Steve Jobs wins: Apple takes first steps toward IBM acquisition

“Steve Jobs once flew a pirate flag over Apple headquarters to signify his defiance toward the computer establishment and, specifically, industry leader IBM,” Will Stabley writes for Stabley Times. “Now his successor Tim Cook has struck a wide reaching deal with what’s left of IBM, which has exited the personal computer business entirely and now focuses on selling solutions to corporate enterprise customers. The move gives IBM the legitimacy of being able to sell its products for use on the popular iPhone and iPad, while it gives Apple a free ride into the enterprise space where it’s long struggled. But more importantly, it means Steve Jobs wins, because it’s the first step toward Apple acquiring IBM itself.”

“The deal essentially makes IBM the world’s most powerful third party developer of iPad and iPhone apps, and ensures that IBM can hang onto its relevant position in enterprise as corporate computing increasingly shifts from desktop and laptop PCs to tablets and smartphones,” Stabley writes. “If the partnership works out well, Apple’s next logical move will be to bring IBM entirely in house, both to ensure greater integration between hardware and software – something which Apple’s operating philosophy is based on – and in order to edge the Android based competition out of the IBM mix. That means an Apple-IBM merger at some point down the road, and based on relative market cap, it would be Apple doing the acquiring.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Specious.

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  1. Standard bullshit. Again, as with most Apple M&A speculation, there is no compelling need for Apple to buy the company. They can get all the value they need from IBM without acquiring them. Then they’ll cast them aside like a used prophylactic.

  2. I view this as a possibility. Apple needs an enterprise sales and service team. More importantly, they need a processor road map for the future as silicon reaches it’s theoretical limits. IBM recently announced a 3 billion dollar initiative in an attempt to deliver that future. I’m not sure they’d have the kind of exclusivity they demand without owning IBM should this prove successful.

  3. I believe this partnership is more of the tools Apple needs to push itself through business. Also IBM does have Watson, so it may be more to the deal than we know right now.

  4. Apple certainly could use what IBM has, product-wise – its R&D alone is a crown jewel, but when you factor in it’s hardware/software development (“Watson”), enterprise businesses, & it’s chip design & production capabilities … all of this would invariably make Apple stronger, better in practically every way. Even if Apple acquired them and then simply used the pieces to further their more consumer-focused plans (i.e. abandoning IBM’s current business interests), Apple would be leapfrogging ahead of it’s competitors in every space they currently occupy, and have an ‘in’ with quite a few they currently do not occupy.

    The problem, however, is IBM’s culture. Whereas Apple is a creative hothouse of relatively libertarian-to-liberal freethinking individuals, IBM has a rep for being a much more conservative place. Not so much with the designers & builders, but with the sales and management people, who frankly run the show there. Absorbing that into Apple would be like a healthy body absorbing a cancer – it could very easily eat Apple alive from within. In less than 10 years, an IBM acquisition could turn Apple into a very ugly, unsuccessful company, that nonetheless has hundreds of millions of customers at it’s mercy due to technological ‘lock-in’ (think, Microsoft), and thus recurring income that allow it to be profitable anyway. Actually, Apple runs that risk now – all these corporate titans that are being brought in to run music, or retail, or for the board (the Blackrock person taking Campbell’s place), whatever … I wonder if Cook & company have been giving ANY thought to the personalities behind these able business skills? Any thought to what it might mean if any of them come to run the company some day? Or even just how the behind the scenes political maneuvering will be affected? All has impacts on a company’s future direction. And Apple is getting so big that the direction it takes in the future should concern us all.

    Speaking of … I’d also point out that IBM has more government tentacles infiltrating it’s corporate body than any other entity Apple has purchased. Again, this should be a concern for them, as well as us. Apple has for the last few years, since Jobs death at least, been wrestling for it’s ‘better principles’ to overcome incessant government surveillance demands, in the US, UK, and China primarily. A company like IBM may have less interest in resisting such things, indeed may have a hand in bringing them about. Apple would have to contend with that in any acquisition of them.

    If I were Cook, I would certainly give acquiring IBM some serious thought. The advantages would be huge. But I’d also prepare to cut out massive parts of the company and personnel before integrating them into Apple – certainly management, maybe even abandoning certain businesses that are profitable for it altogether – simply to preserve Apple’s ‘corporate health’ and integrity going forward. And I’d keep an eye on those hires & acquisitions already brought in, for the same reason.

    Cook talks about Apple being a different type of company – a better company – than the rest. He needs to understand that will only be, and only last, for as long as the people running it under him, and after him, truly buy into such a program.

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