Twapple? Let’s Recap a Dozen Other Apple Acquisitions That Aren’t Going to Happen

By  |  Tuesday, May 5, 2009 at 1:30 am

Twitter AppleOwen Thomas of Valleywag has published a rumor which is both wildly entertaining and wildly improbable: Apple is supposedly in negotiations to buy Twitter for $700 million. What’s the alleged rationale? Well, Owen says that Apple is making dough as people snap up Twitter clients for the iPhone from the App Store. But A) it would take a heck of a lot of $2.99 copies of Tweetie to come up with $700 million; and B) as Owen points out, Apple will make money from Twitter clients whether or not it owns Twitter.

Owen goes on to theorize that Apple might covet Twitter  in order to a make a statement about embracing openness and the Web. That seems like a pretty damn remote possibility. Apple does indeed buy companies, but it does so to become more like itself, not less so. (Good example: Its 2008 acquisition of PA-Semi, which will let it design its own chips and therefore gain more control over its products. Better example: Its 1996 acquisition of NeXT, which got it both a powerful OS and a new CEO with an outstanding resume for running Apple.)

People love to talk about Apple buying other famous companies. Sometimes they say that deals are in the works (although I wonder if any of the rumored transactions even reached the talking-it-over stage). Other times, they just wistfully hope that a deal might happen, or wonder what would transpire if it did.

Let’s review a dozen examples, shall we? After the jump, that is.

The Register, 2003:

According to the paper, Apple is in talks to buy Universal Music, one of the world’s ‘big five’ record labels, from its troubled parent Vivendi. The Mac maker has yet to make a formal bid for the company, though negotiations have been continuing for the last couple of months. Apple is apparently looking to pay $5-6 billion. LA Times sources say Apple may make a bid on 29 April, when Vivendi’s board is next due to meet.

CNN Money, 2005:

Now that Pixar and Walt Disney have gone their separate ways, does it make sense for Apple to buy Pixar?

AppleInsider, 2005:

TiVo Inc. shares jumped more than 17 percent on Wednesday, fueled by speculation that Apple might make a try to buy the digital video recorder maker, Reuters is reporting. “What we hear on the street is that Apple is interested in their business and that they are a takeout target,” said analyst Steven Kroll Jr. of Monness, Crespi, Hardt & Co.

Ars Technica, 2006:

The thought that Apple might be interested in purchasing the struggling PDA manufacturer Palm, Inc. has been floating around for a while. Steve Jobs even tried to purchase the company in the late 90s, according to the San Jose Mercury News. However, the rumor has recently gained some traction with the call by multiple investors for Palm to sell itself. Also, some key Palm employees, such as co-founder and former company president Donna Dubinsky, have previously worked with Apple.

John C. Dvorak, 2006:

Over the years Apple and Sun have traded sales and marketing people and integrating the two companies would be less troublesome than most M&A’s since the corporate cultures are not much different. Also the product lines are very complimentary with only low-end servers having any conflicts.

MarketWatch, 2006:

Barron’s on Saturday said it’s possible that Apple could make a bid to buyout Disney after CEO Steve Jobs becomes the legendary entertainment firm’s largest shareholder.

Cnet, 2006:

Speculation about an Apple-Nintendo deal has been around for years, rekindled recently by fresh speculation since word leaked that Apple may be recruiting game engineers.

Seeking Alpha, 2007:

With Advanced Micro Devices’ (AMD) stock price deteriorating, could Apple (AAPL) be its white knight?

Bloomberg’s William Pesek, 2008:

Sony has an illustrious history of innovation and coming back from the brink. Counting Sony out could be a dangerous bet for competitors and investors alike. That doesn’t mean Jobs shouldn’t be thinking bigger. As bold acquisitions go, Sony may be Apple’s one and only.

Robert X. Cringely, 2008:

But my job this week is to look beyond products, to take a step back and give a long view of where Apple is headed. And the centerpiece of this analysis is my conclusion that Apple will inevitably buy Adobe Systems.

Search Engine Watch, 2009:

Apple Should Buy Yahoo: Why I’m Now Convinced

Upside Down Charts, last week:

Rumor has it that Apple (AAPL 132.07 ↑3.80%) (Apple)  may be looking at Electronic Arts (ERTS (21.0373 ↑5.19%)) as a possible acquisition target and options action appear to be supporting this rumor.

Owen’s Twapple rumor involves a merger being announced at Apple’s WWDC conference next month. I can’t think of a product Apple might announce that would be more startling than the news that it had snapped up the planet’s hottest social networking site…

 
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19 Comments For This Post

  1. Bill Pytlovany Says:

    What? No rumors about Apple purchasing AOL?

    Once Time Warner spins it off; now may be the right time to get their revenge.

    Bill

  2. Simon Says:

    One of Apple’s greatest strengths since Steve Jobs came back has been focus. Twitter would be a head-scratcher.

  3. tom b Says:

    Almost none of these rumors made any sense whatsoever. Apple buys to ENHANCE value; not to piss it away. Where MSFT buys Connectix and webtV and talks about questionable properties like Yahoo and Facebook; Apple gets iTunes from Casady and Greene; Final Cut from Macromedia; CUPS to improve printing– stuff that will actually improve the bottom line. Apple/Sun could have happened, for ZFS and MySQL. But I think Apple didn’t like the price tag.

  4. dan tynan Says:

    ah, you guys are all missing it. I have the real scoop:

    Apple is in late stage negotiations to buy The Technologizer.

    Can you think of a more perfect fit? I for one look forward to seeing Harry in a black turtleneck and jeans.

    dt

  5. Alan Says:

    Uh, you’ve got Sony via Bloomberg twice. How about dropping one and adding Netflix or Tivo.

  6. Grover Says:

    I heard a rumor that Apple was going to buy Qdoba because their burritos are delicious and their product line are extremely complimentary.

  7. PIF Says:

    AAPL in late stages of buying MSFT.

    Or “Just one more thing, we bought Twitter, EA, and INTEL.”

  8. Secret dude Says:

    I am one of the negotiating team members who’s actually working on an acquisition that Apple is about to make.

    Since they have nearly 30 billion in cash and equities, it was an easy match. They price
    Apple is buying a mathematical symbol and will sell licenses for anyone who wants to use it.

    What symbol is that? What could go better with Apple than π?

    Price paid? $3.141592653589793 billion.

  9. CapnVan Says:

    Apparently you’ve all forgotten about the long, agonizing wait for Apple to finally get around to purchasing Tropicana.

  10. myphotoscout Says:

    Or maybe that means if Apple approaches you about buying your company you can save your breath and take it easy.

  11. iamdez Says:

    Thank You! that is all.

  12. Tom Says:

    Apple buying Sun is one that should have happened. Too bad Oracle went ahead and scooped them up, unless of course Apple places a last minute offer and outbids Oracle. Apple + Sun is a lot more interesting as it means Apple finally gets into the Enterprise. Oracle + Sun = boring and unimaginative.

  13. mkomira Says:

    Surprised for the rumors

  14. TSI Stu Says:

    Ah, the crazy Apple take over rumors keep on coming. I really can’t see what Apple would want with Twitter that would warrant a $700 million price tag. Still, somebody has to be linked with buying Twitter each week so I guess why not make it Apple. Looking forward to see who it will be next week….

  15. Anthony Says:

    Apple is not going to buy twitter. It doesn’t make money, if any thing it eats money like all the other social networks. The maintenance costs of social networks are more than the revenue that they bring in. Social networks are not a smart business strategy. However I could see an Apple/Adobe merger. Combine that with their final cut software and you have some very powerful software on your hands. But I think adobe is too big to bend to the will of Apple so it probably won’t happen.

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