GE’s Jack Welch reportedly passed on buying Apple for $2 billion

“Former General Electric C.E.O. Jack Welch is not exactly known for his missed opportunities,” Emily Jane Fox reports for Vanity Fair. “The legendary businessman sat at the helm of one of the country’s most iconic companies for nearly a quarter century, and during that time, GE’s value rose 4,000 percent, as a result of Welch’s constant acquisitions and relentless cost-cutting.”

“But Welch’s record is allegedly marred by one huge black mark,” Fox reports. “According to a new memoir from Bob Wright, the longtime head of NBCUniversal who worked alongside Welch, the executive passed up the chance to buy Apple for a bargain basement price. Wright told the New York Post that then – Apple chief Michael Spindler approached GE in 1996, as the tech giant struggled to regain its footing in the absence of Steve Jobs, handing Welch the opportunity to buy Apple for $2 billion.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: If GE had acquired Apple, the company currently wouldn’t even be worth 2-cents.

Without Steve Jobs, there would be no Apple today.

Thankfully, Welch walked away.

28 Comments

    1. So… he’s they guy I should blame. I recently built a house and stocked it with GE appliances. They looked good sitting in the store but I wish I had the chance to try-before-I-buy. They all suck.

      1. My wife and I went to hhgregg to get a dishwasher and found a sale on a GE. The associate recommended the wirlpool cuz he didn’t want anyone to get GE anything. We are very pleased!

        1. We also bought a GE wireless door bell and I don’t think it even lasted 2 weeks! Paid twice as much for a Honeywell wireless doorbell and over a year later still works great!

    2. Here’s some of the great things Welch did while running GE,
      1) Established 10% rule, top 10% rewarded, Bottom 10% fired, each and every year GE went through this. And don’t think this was performance based, it was a beauty contest of your political skills. The middle 80% got to keep their jobs for another year with minimal wage increases.
      2) Under his watch GE developed a new refrigerator compressor, (much lower cost), didn’t adequately test. These all failed around 5 years after sale. What did neutron Jack do?, yup, he deftly and with lobbyist dollars paid off government agencies so there was no forced legislation. As an owner of one of these crap appliances, I had to buy a new one after 5 years because the replacement compressor cost more than a new fridge. At the time the 20 year old refrigerator in my basement went on to work for yet another 20 years with nary a service call.

    1. Yes, had Welch bought it Apple today would likely not even exist, and the world would be poorer for it. Even Android would be a pale shadow of what it is now. We’d be using crappy Samsung phones with an OS closer to the Blackberry than to what we now have.
      Since the 80’s Apple has been demonstrating a different and often better way to do things, and the rest of of the industry has learned from it.
      Windows especially benefitted. Today people argue over the differences between Android and iOS. I remember DOS users insisting that having only the DOS command line was actually a *better* way to use a computer than a graphical interface!

  1. Funny, Apple would never have sold for $2B in 1996. It’s stock was worth over $5B for most of ’96, and you also have to factor in a buyout premium, so I doubt he could have bought if for any less than $8B.

    Further, another black mark against Jack was that he stole the wife of a classmate of mine, away, Suzy.

  2. F Jack Welch for becoming the model for cost-cutting, sending jobs overseas, and crapping all over innovation. GE was once the gold standard of corporations and its employees were proud to work there. Then Welch came along and reinvented Corporate America, F@CKING the American Worker up the yin-yang. Apple would have been a distant memory if he had bought it; within a few years he would have divested the company of all of its patents. There would be no return of Jobs, no iMac, iPod, iPhone, iPad or anything else. F that SOB.

  3. I keep mulling the idea of Spindler trying to sell Apple to GE. To me it shows he had no idea was Apple was all about, the two companies don’t seem complementary at all.

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