A Brief History of Apple Not Buying Things

Exclusive analysis: Barnes & Noble talks likely to lead to latest in long line of bold Apple non-mergers and un-acquisitions!

By  |  Friday, July 29, 2011 at 2:20 am

And so it begins again. BGR has an exclusive scoop from an “unproven” (ooh!) source: Apple is in talks to buy Barnes & Noble, the country’s last remaining national bookseller. As BGR points out, the acquisition would get Apple B&N’s digital books and other publications (which it might conceivably want) and Nook hardware (which it surely doesn’t), along with hundreds of retail outlets which it could either shutter or convert into Apple Stores. (Enormous Apple Stores! Usually located conveniently close to existing Apple Stores!)

Here’s a bit of deep insight from another BGR source (the story doesn’t say if it’s a proven or unproven one):

It also almost makes too much sense for Apple to do this, said another source of ours, mentioning that Apple doesn’t make moves that appear logical to most outside observers at the time.

Well said. For years, Apple has confounded the rest of us by not buying things that it should clearly be buying. Not purchasing other well-known companies is so core to Apple’s strategy that it must have a whole department devoted to non-mergers and un-acquisitions.

We’ve been over this before, but it’s worth a recap:

2003: Apple shows it’s not that serious about this music thing after all when it doesn’t buy Universal Music!

2004: The world wonders if Steve Jobs has lost all common sense when Apple doesn’t buy Pixar, a company Jobs already runs!

2005: Industry watchers the world over do a double-take in unison when Apple doesn’t buy TiVo!

2006: Apple tips its hand to its disinterest in the phone market by making a strategic decision not to buy Palm!

2006: It makes no sense at all, but Steve Jobs’ large ownership stake in a legendary Hollywood company doesn’t lead to Apple buying Disney!

2006: For reasons lost to history, Apple doesn’t take the easy route to success in gaming by buying Nintendo!

2006: Bizarrely, it turns out that Eric Schmidt didn’t join the Apple board so Apple could buy Sun!

2007: I still recall my shock and disbelief when I learned that Apple would not be buying AMD!

2008: Steve Jobs’ legendary fondness for Flash inexplicably fails to result in Apple buying Adobe!

2008: Two years after its mysterious refusal to buy Nintendo, Apple once again spurns the Japanese by not buying Sony!

2009: Apple makes a rare strategic misstep when it ultimately decides not to buy Yahoo!

2009: Apple’s continuing disinterest in gaming is confirmed when it doesn’t make a dramatic bid to buy Electronic Arts!

2009: Apple’s WWDC is a memorable one as Steve Jobs doesn’t announce “one more thing:” Apple is buying Twitter!

2009: In a move surely made primarily to confuse us all, Apple does buy Lala.

2010: With unprecedented boldness, Apple doesn’t use its huge stockpile of cash buy EA, Sony, Netflix, Facebook, or Disney–yes, simultaneously!

2011: Apple’s careful consideration of a Hulu bid continues to result in…nothing!

Now, take this for what it’s worth–remember, I’m not a professional analyst–but a careful reading of history indicates that the news of Apple’s discussions with Barnes & Noble can lead to only one outcome: Apple not buying Barnes & Noble. Like BGR says, it’s simply too logical to happen.

[BONUS EXERCISE: Tell us what Apple would be like today if it had done the logical thing and acquired Universal Music, Pixar, TiVo, Palm, Sun Disney, Nintendo, AMD, Sony, Yahoo, EA, Twitter, Facebook, Netflix, and Hulu.]


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165 Comments For This Post

  1. Phong Le Says:

    "Not purchasing other well-known companies is so core to Apple’s strategy that it must have a whole department devoted to non-mergers and un-acquisitions."

    I find it strange that you arrive at this conclusion. After reading the headlines, I think a better conclusion is

    "Based on the predictions that didn't come true, one can only conclude that tech journalism is so bad that they are willing to make up stories to get page views."

  2. ASDCR Says:

    haha! beat me to it!

  3. @podperson Says:

    Humor humor ark ark.

  4. Aryanna Says:

    oh just chill. its an article. don't like it, don't read it. simple as that.

  5. florian Says:

    how are you going to know you don't like it if you don't read it?

  6. Yepitsme Says:

    u just got pwned by florian…

  7. Cailean Says:

    He did say it, but funny.

  8. Horace the Grump Says:

    @ Phong Le… you may have missed the fact that this piece is dripping, nay, smothered in well crafted cynicism…

    When its a slow news day in the Apple-verse it seems the best thing to do for tech 'journalists' is to start interviewing their keyboards about the best way for Apple to spend all its cash. Clearly, Apple's strategy and corporate finance team is a lot smarter than this bunch of dunderheads…

    Harry nails it.

  9. Floor Tiles Sydney Says:

    really good post, i certainly love this site, keep on it

  10. N8nNC Says:

    A bag of hurt

  11. Rob Montanez Says:

    Apple almost never buys anything, they just talk to you and suck in you best ideas. They then use all the resources available to them to do a better job of building whatever they need.

  12. not a fanboy Says:


    It's hysterical that you have -40 votes for this innocent comment! Apple fanboys are like the legions of Chinese bloggers that are paid by the communists to scour the web and write thinley veiled propaganda comments about China in any post that could be interpreted as negative, ( "I american and think why not China have right to kill dissident? It only makes sense that country wants to protect itself, and makes life better for us too. I wish America would get rid of more dissident people")

    I mean, come on! calling someone a Troll for voicing a legitimate complaint, or simply saying "Apple makes a lot of money. You don't. They're obviously smarter than you so your argument is invalid". Is that your only come back? No argument is invalid. You must realize that the refusal to admit that the anti-apple crowd has a point only strengthens us and makes us grow. Do you remember the late 90's (when Adobe's great product line saved Apple from disaster) when all of you guys put those stickers on everything that said "SATAN INSIDE"? Was that not "Trollish"? And didn't the great Satan pledge to give all his money to charity?

    Oh well.. I guess there can never be a place in the media for an honest discussion about the problems that we have with the great Apple. having any problem with a successful business must make us just insane open source activists and nerds who want user-unfriendly devices to make sure that the majority of the populace can't use them as well as us.

    Rob, for what it's worth I agree with you, and after I post this, you'll have -39 😉

  13. Kawaii Gardiner Says:

    I disagree – Apple only buys companies that have a lot of potential and are in their early stages, they never purchase a mature company because it just simply opens up a can of worms when it comes to modifying the direction to suit Apples end goal. Take P.A. Semi and open source projects such as LLVM and KHTML/KJS for example, take some raw unrefined ingredients then add some Apple pixie dust and voila an end product. It is something they've done time and time again.

  14. Paul Ruseau Says:

    Apple also seems to know that the age old saying, a jack of all trades is a master of none. Companies that ignore what their competencies are and just do it all because they have the cash are being dumb.

    Don't most mergers and acquisitions fail? Culture is the primary reason for failure. And one thing is clear, Apple has a corporate culture unlike most other companies.

    I say Apple is being damn smart.

    I also suspect their patent team is working overtime to see if Apple can just build it themselves instead of buying it. If they can build it, they should. It is pretty much unimaginable that the other company has development and quality assurance practices that even come close to Apple's.

  15. atom Says:

    we're talking about the same apple, right? the one that has desktops, notebooks, servers, tablets, phones, pdas, music players, wireless routers, an operating system, office software, online media music/movie/tv purchase, online movie tv/rental, music streaming, cloud storage, cloud sync, video production software, music production software, a programming language/compiler/ide, online app distribution (mobile and desktop), keyboards, mice, displays, a tv service, home stereo integration, a browser, mobile ad network and even processors?

  16. tim@misfit.com Says:

    Right… All in the service of just a few products. They don't go off the tracks and make things based on their skills and technologies, as say Hitachi might, they focus those things on the ecosystem that serves those few main products only.

  17. Glen Says:

    It's an intriguing theory. Personally, I've been an employee of no less than four Silicon Valley companies that weren't bought by Apple.

  18. ahow628 Says:

    Just think: Apple could have been the AOL TimeWarner of consumer electronics!

  19. @podperson Says:

    Also known as HP.

  20. not a fanboy Says:

    there is still plenty of time for that to happen. AOL was doing pretty good for a while, but they are THE example of walled technology and what happens when you put protectionism before your consumers best interest. Apple IS headed the same way .. albeit very slowly since their competition is mostly far more stupid than they are anti-consumer.

  21. San Says:

    Apple could of been the real life equivalent of Buy n' Large!
    Which was created by Pixar.. Which Jobs owns..
    Maybe Jobs put in the company as a future synonym for the future of Apple.
    nah he doesn't like to do things like that!

  22. Brad Kozak Says:

    Screw it…Apple now has more cash than the Feds. Howzabout they buy the U.S. Government? Think about how much better they'd run it than that bunch of clowns in D.C.!

  23. James Says:

    I don't think so. Too much debt.

  24. Adam Smith Says:

    Jobs could have closed all "entitlement" departments 😉 and all "welfare" departments.

  25. John Says:

    Not a good business model.

  26. Dale Says:

    This just in: nation's DMVs are now Genius Bars.

  27. Phil Grant Says:

    Too late! Microsoft bought the US Government from IBM during the Clinton administration. IBM bought the US Government during the Reagan Administration. Where would Windows be today if the country had elected H. Ross Perot.

    Perot@EDS tried to teach the government a lesson on software buying when he sold the US his Medicare App. Did they learn anything? No!

    Consider this: Microsoft bought DOS for $50k, and then sold millions of copies to the US at $50.00/each. For that kind of money, the US could have paid to have its own custom OS. If the government switched to Ubuntu and Open Office, it could save enough money to buy Apple.

    Only problem is: if the US Government switched to Linux and Open Office, then corporate America would follow. That's the real dirty little secret. The pundits like to talk about Microsoft compatibility (and IBM compatibility before that), but the real Holy Grail has always been US GSA compatibility. Whatever Uncle Sam specifies in its RFPs becomes the standard.

  28. Greg Says:

    Nice insight there Phil!

  29. willbikeforchange Says:

    I work for the federal government, and I can say that Apple treats their employees a heck of a lot better than us in terms of bonuses and perks. We had to bring in our own microwave!

  30. tim Says:

    As someone pointed out elsewhere, Apple's target demographic are not poor people…

  31. George W Says:

    sounds like fun. only problem is that the massive censorship and forced deportation of poor people would probably make life in the US worse than living under Tea Party rule.

    Besides, Apple already owns the US government along with all of their other corporate buddies. The current state of affairs is a direct result of what companies like Apple want.

  32. Paul Benjou Says:

    Apple would be spoiled

  33. robyn Says:

    A laptop in every pot!

  34. Steve Webb Says:

    Apple could have had a better OS and a healthier CEO. Apple must be looking at Be today and singing "The Sour Grape Song".

  35. Tim Says:

    Troll alert.

  36. MarkH Says:

    Since Apple bought NeXT, they've grown at an exponential rate; are now the biggest tech company in the world by market cap; are the second largest company in the world by market cap (only ExxonMobil is bigger); created and now owns the tablet market outright; are the biggest cell phone vendor in the world by market cap, sales volume, and profit; and has more cash on hand than Apple used to be worth by a factor of ten.

    Yeah, Apple is really singing "The Sour Grape Song." A bigger troll than you, I'm not sure I've ever seen.

  37. Apollo Says:

    If Apple purchased this companies we may be seeing an Technology version of the Ancient Territorial Expansion of the Greeks. Or US vs Russia. But this time. Google Vs Apple.

  38. oceans Says:

    I'd say that Apple are more likely to buy a company for:

    1) Patents
    2) Some technology that it has that is very desirable and that one Apple's competitor's would want too i.e. some sort of revolutionary batter/charging/solar cell, screen display tech etc.
    3) Chip design company i.e. someone like ARM holdings

    I don't think that Apple needs another retailer – being one of the best e-commerce and bricks and mortar retailer on the planet itself.

    Nor does it need manufacturing facilities – it can get a number of these in the developing world to compete for business.

    But it does needs IP and people. Be interesting to see what it would do with its war chest.

  39. Troy Says:

    For these reasons, I would have thought that the Palm (and maybe even Sun?) acquisition would have made some sense

  40. CarsonGallo Says:

    Best article I've read all month!

  41. Dave McClure Says:



  42. Liz Benitez Says:


  43. Joe Says:

    when i saw this headline i thought cool an article about all the stuff apple has stolen instead of buying licenses for. imagine my disappointment.

  44. gslusher Says:

    Like what?

  45. Neo Says:

    Looking at the list of non-merger targets, in business areas that Apple later entered, you get the feeling that Apple may use "due diligence" for the purposes of corporate espionage

  46. phuul Says:

    Or they do "due diligence" and figure out that those guys are wankers and then make a phone people actually want. Or a music player or a bleeding tablet. More likely, using Occam's razor, they never had the talks at all and the analysts were talking out of their anus.

  47. Marc Says:

    Actually, so far as I can tell, the commonality about everything on that list is that they had nothing Apple actually wanted. The ones that weren't complete link-bait nonsense–the ones that at least had something to do with Apple's core business–made products so inferior that Apple's success in the market was because they could do better than what the company could.

    The other commonality, of course, is that the companies were losing catastrophic amounts of money and dying on the vine. Yeah, that makes perfect sense–buy a company whose core competence is losing money because they're fat and lazy.

  48. gslusher Says:

    Probably not. Remember that these are NOT companies that Apple ever showed an interest in. They were speculations by journalists, analysts, "pundits," and others without a clue. Some were rumors started by who-knows, probably someone either with something to gain (e.g., affecting the stock price, even for a few hours) or with a warped sense of humor and a power complex.

  49. Agas Treva Says:

    such an interesting theory…what next????

  50. Blake Rose Says:

    Well Apple is probably not going to Barnes and Nobles either! That would be bad, because Microsoft will feel compelled to buy Half Priced Books or Walden Books. Ugh as nice as e books are where would be if Electric Magnetic Pulse attack knocked at the Internet?

  51. Grant Says:

    I'm pretty sure Waldenbooks is s subsidiary of Borders- may it R.I.P.

  52. Mutant Pie Says:

    A movie based on this premise was made called Spirit of '76, way back, before eReaders really existed in the consumer market.

  53. Harry McCracken Says:

    Great movie!


  54. gslusher Says:

    An EMP attack that could wipe out the entire Internet would also wipe out nearly every power grid, television station, cellphone and landline phone systems, and maybe 80-95% of industrial capability. It would also fry the electronics in most cars, aircraft, trains, etc.

    The Internet is a highly distributed system. There are few major "nodes." It evolved from ARPANET, which was specifically designed to survive a major nuclear war by being able to use alternate routing for messages.

    The only devices that could even come close to this would be many thousands of multi-megaton fusion weapons going off pretty much simultaneously. In that case, the EMP might be one of the more minor considerations.

  55. Aaron Davies Says:

    or another bad solar storm

  56. Mudmap Says:

    what an interesting take on the history of the Apple Company! Clearly I haven't been paying attention as all of this had completely escaped my notice!

  57. mrbricksworld Says:

    Crap I knew it was too good to be true when someone called me and identified themselves as Apple's Steve Jobs and said he wanted to but my 1993 Ford Taurus for double Kelly Blue Book price.

    Great post!

    Have a great day

    Mr Bricks

  58. ccfl halos Says:

    they never did buy much.. they kept it to them selves

  59. Logic Meets Reason Says:

    Thank you for posting supporting evidence. That is always such a vital element to include within a potentially controversial topic. The screenshots of the articles were very helpful for this particular post. I was never aware that Apple had so many opportunities to purchase other popular corporations and brands. Yet, as a past PC user and a present Apple user, I can certainly say that the quality of Apple is top notch and even if we shouldn’t anticipate the company deciding to purchase Barnes and Noble, the quality of their products will still contribute to their everlasting success.

    Thank you for sharing the facts with us! This was an enjoyable read!

    If its okay with you, I just started my own blog recently and I would really like to post my link along with my comment, it’s http://www.logicmeetsreason.wordpress.com I invite you and your readers to take a look at it, comment, and subscribe!

  60. gslusher Says:

    "I was never aware that Apple had so many opportunities to purchase other popular corporations and brands."They didn't. These were speculations–wild-assed-guesses–by people who wee NOT privy to Apple's strategic thinking, mostly people who didn't come close to understanding how Apple works, despite the fact that Jobs and others have explained it clearly over the years. Lots of people seem to think that they know better than anyone else, including Apple's upper management. Given that few–if any–of those people have ever run a multi-billion-dollar company, their speculations are pretty much worthless.

  61. Logic Meets Reason Says:

    Thank you for taking the time to clarify the facts with me. Now I understand that these were merely remarks of speculation. Next time I hear another claim that Apple will potentially purchase another corporation, I will have to second guess whether or not they are really going to pursue that endeavor.

  62. leadinglight Says:

    This was a really interesting topic. Was Apple ever in the market for Ebay or a similar platform?

  63. One Lone Castaway Says:

    I just wonder; maybe Apple is smarter then we give it credit for(after all they do have revenue in the Billions). Maybe they just want to stay at what they do well and not make the fatal mistake so many make of going into a field too far!


  64. phuul Says:

    I just wonder why no one else sees this same thing. Ok maybe 10 years ago it was up in the air but now? Apple is the most conservative tech company. If they buy something it is for a damn good reason. They don't announce or release a product they think will fail, of course sometimes it does cough Mobile Me cough. They always lowball next quarter estimates. Apple didn't just pull the iPad out of it's rear, that product has been in development for over 8 years. I would submit that the iPhone was a testing the waters product push. When the components became affordable then they released the iPad.

    At the end of the day what it comes down to is that Wall Street does not understand Apple. And Apple does not care about Wall Street. At all. Just listen to their finical calls. You will never hear so much polite, respectful condescension in your life. So it's of no surprise that "analysts" draw such wrong conclusions based on "insider" information.

  65. gaycarboys Says:

    s right up there with Not buying CISCO shares and NOT getting in on the ground floor of Microsoft. It's a very odd way to run thingss isn't it?

  66. raaarghhh Says:

    Hi there,
    Thanks for sharing all this information with us. I didn't know half of this. Also, about buying Barnes & Noble, I also think that Apple won't buy it. It's simply not their style to buy bigger corporations. And it seems that this does them no harm, as they have more money than US government. 🙂

  67. cantueso Says:

    Yes, like CarsonGallo, I'd also say best article I've read all month, but I know nothing about this Apple and its market interests, and it was just fun to see how other people go shopping. I also don't know anything about the companies Apple could have bought, but loaded the whole thing down to look a little at what there is.

  68. magnetforfoolishness Says:

    This was a great post. Very educational and funny. Thanks!

  69. yippiie Says:

    This article is really helpful, if somebody is interested in knowing what APPLE does not did….
    but question is here why APPLE is still among TOP’S
    they just believe in them ,
    seeming everything about a company and not buying is just not more than a joke….
    APPLE will continue being like this ……..
    and we gonna get enough post like this one.

  70. jaxibella Says:

    I really enjoyed reading this, but I have what may be an odd question.

    When you talk about Apple buying Barnes & Noble, you primarily mention ebooks and such. What about actual printed paper books? O.O


  71. gslusher Says:


    Re-read the article. It's tongue-in-cheek, dripping with sarcasm.

  72. Luis Masanti Says:

    And interesting continuation article –other than tne one about what companies really bought Apple– would be how shifted the shares of those "going to be bought" companies.
    A "rumor" spread by a shareholder that want to sell its shares can raise the price…

  73. SSteve Says:

    Then again, Apple does buy some companies. I was an Emagic employee when we were purchased by Apple in 2002. That's where they got Logic and, later, GarageBand.

  74. Angelique Says:

    I think Apple should own the USA too. I agree that they would not buy Barnes and Noble and in slight opposition to to the last comment must say that this is why apple will stay on top. They don't buy companies that are slated to collapse in the next few years due to failing book sales. Funny idea though. This is a great blog! Thank you for sharing your thoughts and ideas. Great read today for sure.

  75. Jameskatt Says:

    Apple is the most highly focused company in tech. Apple is also the largest startup in the world. As a startup, they are not going to buy a large non-money making company. That simply won't happen.

    Just look at all of those rumored mergers. They are to large non-money making companies. That alone should tell you they won't fly.

  76. LFP Says:

    Apple bought Lala to kill it. No surprise there.

    It was a real threat, probably the only one, and it remained mostly under the radar. It was cheap(er), it was the best way to discover and listen to new music and buy only what you liked. Everyone I knew who started using it, quit using/buying from iTunes. It was built in Flash, so it obviously wouldn't work on any of the iOS devices, but as a music service, it was awesome. Bummer.

  77. Ryan Says:

    or however you goddamn spell it.

  78. changeoursociety Says:

    Wow this intresting. Apple would be a household name that we would grow old of ,even so we would continue to buy the products. I'm actually glad that apple haven't bought these companies because it leaves a variety of individual companies,Apple don't want to rule the world,they want to be part of the world.

  79. Brock Says:

    Compare their situation with Google. Many of Google's fantastic ideas have been acquisitions of small companies with fantastic ideas. Two paths, both successful.

  80. tecnologiatu Says:

    Awesome job!

  81. Scott Says:

    “Focus is about saying no.”
    -Steve Jobs

  82. Tim H Says:

    You are technically correct that Apple acquired NeXT, or you could claim it was a merger, but the reality is that NeXT subsumed Apple. All the high level positions (but Fred Anderson) were replaced by what were up until that moment NeXT employees.

    The old guard continued working on the legacy technology, but hardware (Rubenstein) and OS software (Tevanian) ran the show. Even product marketing was taken over by Schiller, another former NeXT employee of old.

    (And let's not forget that the two remaining Apple higher ups that DID stay got thrown under the bus when the SEC shit hit the fan. No former NeXT folks have ever been similarly hung out to dry to my memory.)

  83. Clint Hanaway Says:

    Apple likes to crush it’s competitors, not acquire them. Why buy things that are just going to crumble as you steal their market anyway?

  84. jwdsail Says:

    I'm seeing some .. interesting … ideas being put up for how Apple could/should use it's cash pile..

    1.Enter the TV Market
    2.Take Control of Facebook
    3.Acquire Hulu or Netflix
    4.Launch a Full-Fledged Video Game Division

    Others suggest stock buy backs or dividends..

    All of these, while ok ideas I suppose, are short term ideas. Transportation and energy costs will only go up in the next 20+ years. Apple should buy up some land, and use that land to build some state of the art manufacturing facilities in north america and other strategic global locations to limit transportation/distribution costs, as well as molten salt solar / roof-top solar co-ops (big in italy) / wind / etc energy generation facilities to power them. They should also acquire mining/mineral rights in newly discovered areas rich w/ the materials that will be required to manufacture their products moving forward.

    People are thinking way too small about this (Apple's Cash). Think bigger. Think different.

  85. Matthew Says:

    I say that if Apple just bought everything in sight It would no longer be the Apple we know. Apple is really concentrating it’s resources on one thing right now (that being everything Apple is doing presently) and their doing a good job with it. If they were to go in all different directions I don’t think it would end well. It would end up looking confused. Just try and imagine an Apple homepage with videos, books, search, movies, and all that other stuff. You would have to wonder where they were going with all of it. That’s just my 2 cents.

  86. Gordon Shumway Says:

    Bonus Question- Answer- Apple would be the same great company with same wonderful patents and technologies under the hood but with less CASH. Why buy when you can rent- CHEAPER. -alf

  87. Henry 3 Dogg Says:

    The only one that made sense, to me, was Sun.

    Sun could have give Apple enormous credibility in the enterprise server space, and it would have been worth paying what Oracle paid just to own Java and ZFS.

  88. dbw Says:

    You missed one – sometime in late 2010, Apple was also going to buy Facebook.

    It is always the bankers floating the concept to see if they can get Apple or a competitor interested.

  89. fatkunj Says:

    It's a bit of hubris and a bit of shrewd business. Apple seems to be able to beat most of it's competitors in most categories. If you can't beat them…, oh wait, they can.

  90. Site7000 Says:

    I think Steve Jobs is aware that trying to ingest a large company would destroy Apple's hyper-tuned corporate culture. Tiny companies are easy to swallow, but large ones would just sit like a lump in the gut, draining energy. You'll never see Apple merge with a large company while Jobs is in charge and you should dump your stock if any successor does so.

  91. technologizer2 Says:

    I've done that too. Probably will again. But not in this particular post.

  92. Mike Says:

    Hey, I bought AAPL at 135. I'm satisfied that they're doing something right, right?

  93. Alex Says:

    Am I missing something here? Apples decision not to buy these companies is the right move. just look at the proposed mergers here: Palm?, PDA's are virtually extinct, I have a nice one collecting dust in my mail drawer. They were made obsolete by smart phones- a revolution led by Apple.

    Apple is better off NOT aquiring a company, and continuing to invest their capital in organic growth, vs growth by acquisition. I dont buy the theory that they play merger discussions to hijack competitive intelligence. I believe the mergers talks were based on the logic of "easier it cheaper to buy or develop" the technology we desire.

    I hope Apple does not waste their reserve in a merger, but instead pursue the organic growth they have been having. Its an amazing company, what they have done in the past has worked brilliantly.

  94. Gareth Eynon Says:

    I love the way that after reading this article people go on to speculate about Apple buying Barnes and Noble. Just wait and see; what will be will be…

  95. Buddy Says:

    I guess Apple's philosophy is the good old "If you can't beat them, buy them". Hence, if you CAN beat them – why buy them?

  96. adimase Says:


  97. Mike Says:

    Is the author of this article taking his medicines? The guy is completely delusional believing a rumor is true and then being frustrated when he saw, "at the last minute" Apple "deciding" not to buy the company.

    Apple is a HARDWARE company. It will Palm, Barnes & Noble, Twitter, etc., has nothing to do with Apple do. Apple will buy technologies or parts that has a relation to producing the hardware they want to produce. It is essential to Apple now to spend their money securing a constant supply of parts at the best prices, to strangle competition. They are doing this pretty well and constraining competition that is forced to buy parts at a higher prices and in limited quantities, forcing them to have a small margin.

  98. Johnqp Says:

    If Apple had bought all these companies, it would have a market value a fraction of what it has today. Focus on the few products that you can make insanely perfect… Magical…beautiful… It's a hard strategy to follow, but Apple is focused, driven and frankly patient not to give us an iPad before they really had the iPad, or to go full tilt into Apple TV before they have it right.

  99. rena Says:


  100. spring Says:


  101. Martyn Says:

    ok.. here's a (partial) list of companies that Apple has bought

    Network Innovations

    Orion Network Systems


    Nashoba Systems

    Coral Software


    Power Computing

    Xemplar Education

    Raycer Graphics




    Spruce Technologies


    Nothing Real


    Silicone Grail Corp

    Propel Software




    Silicon Color


    P.A. Semi



    Quattro Wireless




  102. AwesomeAim Says:

    Wow. Strangely, my initial reaction was to feel strongly against this possibility, although I'll have to mull over the effects later. Interesting.

  103. Michael Roberts Says:

    So, in essence, they're really sticking to their own brand. Perhaps the best choice, what with the competitions commission and rules about having too big of a business (RE: microsoft and WMP etc)

  104. Michel Says:

    Apple will only buy companies for the talent. So this automatically excludes all big companies, since they are always full of mediocrity and overhead.

  105. Kris Browne Says:

    Steve has famously said that part of doing things right is knowing when to say No, when not to do things.

  106. Hmc Says:

    Because you have released this article, Apple *will* now buy Barnes & Noble, just to make you wrong again. 😉

    Funny thing is, the acquisition strategy of Apple is very plain to see for all those who actually pay attention to their culture and drive. They are interested in small to medium sized firms of experts, technology and ideas that can be tightly integrated and controlled within the Appleverse, to further their own products and services seamlessly. The target is assimilated and rebranded entirely under Apple's direction. No existing brand names survive. The only other acquisitions they make are strategic in terms of patents.

    The idea that they might buy a bureaucratic behemoth like Sony, Nintendo or even Adobe while Jobs is still in charge is not only laughable, it's a clear demonstration that those making such suggestions simply don't understand Apple or Jobs at all.

    One of the most impressive things about Apple is how they stay focused on the big picture, while managing to perfect the small details too. They don't get distracted by projects that don't contribute very quickly to their vision (and the bottom line), in the same way that Microsoft for example does (XBox, Skype, Bing etc.). I confidentially predict that you will NEVER see a Skype-like acquisition from Apple as long as Jobs runs the show.

  107. Matt Denton Says:

    Ah, you also left out Apple not buying Bungie back in around 2000 time. Apple announced that Halo (maybe you've heard of it…) was coming to the Mac… Theeeeeeeeeeen Bungie got signed by Microsoft and Apple lost out. Unacquisitions FTW!

  108. Jayant Raj Says:

    I don't think Apple will buy Barnes & Noble either. I guess Apple wanna make big things of its own instead of buying companies in millions and billions.

  109. CoreAn_Crack3rZ Says:

    How about Apple-Microsoft??? 😀 Joke!

    Anyways, great article!

  110. Lisa Macnewton Says:


  111. rxantos Says:

    One way to make companies shares go up is to make a rumor that a bigger company is buying it.

    But by faking interest on one company, a bigger company could get information on the smaller company. NDA do not work, as they will simply create a phantom company that sudently have all the information of the smaller one. It will be tought for the small company to prove that the phantom company broke the NDA (since it will require to prove that the big company owns the phantom company). In this case the only protection are patents.

    Of course there is the honest alternative. Big company had an interest on a smaller company, but then lost interest on the smaller company.

    So there are 3 possible situations. One dishonest on part of a shareholder of the small company. One dishonest on part of the big ompany. And one honest.

  112. Adnan Chowdhury Says:

    Love it!

  113. @holycalamity Says:

    So what you're saying is that Apple didn't buy a maker of sarcasm detectors or a point-missing avoiders?

    See, the point of this article isn't whether or not Apple acquires companies. This is media criticism, about tech reporters' laziness/trigger-happiness/not-getting-how-Apple-works-ness.

  114. Raptor Says:

    Well perhaps Apple is just a whole lot better at understanding their core business model (than are tech journalists), maximizing on that, and making as much money as they can without purchasing wasteful, non-producing companies. How many purchases have Google and Microsoft, for instance, made that make absolutely no contribution to their bottom line? No prize for selling all the junk you can and then going down the drain.

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  116. war craft guy Says:

    This is an interesting topic. Glad I found it.

  117. Michael Says:

    I would say that Apple's acquisition of FingerWorks in 2005 is worth mentioning.

  118. thetechnogeeks Says:

    A Quite interesting topic, and the way it is presented is really mind-blowing, complete with supporting evidence!
    I myself run a blog and cover many topics about Apple, i would kindly request you to have a look at it, and do lemme know about your opinim about it: http://www.thetechnogeeks.wordpress.com

  119. yeahmac Says:

    This is great. I never really knew that Apple had their eyes on so many companies.

  120. Aaron J Schieding Says:

    Well I guess we shall see!

  121. mohdarafat Says:


  122. guest Says:

    One thing that no one ever denies that Apple is good at, besides making pretty things, is mastering patent law. The best thing about a potential merger is "due diligence." You get to review all of a companies records as needed in order to validate whether the offered price is worthwhile, and if the potential target is a public company, if your offer is high enough they are required by law to entertain your offer and go through the motions even if you believe that they will not follow through. In fact the majority of mergers do not get closed, not just for Apple but for everyone.

  123. same guest again Says:

    hmm… my message got cut short…
    anyway, I meant to say that I bet Apple uses the due diligence process to mine for weaknesses and opportunities to create patents around what normally would be considered obvious design improvements in order to lock their competition out of the market.

    Despite how credible that may be, however, Apple truly does desperately need to get rid of it's cash. The best way would be to buy several underperforming assets, drag them a long for a couple years and them scrap them. Alternatively, they could give it all away to charity, but unless the charity is for the Koke brothers' political action fund, I don't see that happening.

  124. missfoolonthehill Says:

    This is brilliant, I laughed out loud. I had no idea Apple had duped us so many times. http://thebrokencup.wordpress.com/

  125. Bragging Jackass Says:

    Apple doesn't need to buy stuff, it can just make things better"

  126. JBecket1 Says:

    Interesting article right here, I really enjoyed reading it. Apple is a great company, but like many nationwide businesses it can have some weak spots. I was surfing the internet and I found this site where people can vent about poor customer service or products they received… it can get really funny. I would recommend you to check it out here.

  127. EZPC Recycle, Inc. Says:

    Apple is absolutely hilarious. Making fun of them is like…is like finalizing merger acquisition decisions in a barrel! Lol.

    Awesome post really funny!

  128. maniacallycomical Says:

    I'm not a techie, but somehow you managed to make this article hilarious. With evidence, to boot. Ironic that the only company Apple acquired was the one I DIDN'T recognize.

  129. Inspiration Says:

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  130. manpoweredfilms Says:

    Apple's problems go a lot deeper than just those sorts of macro level strategic decisions. Remember their CRT monitors? Remember what the first thing to go on a CRT monitor was? The cable. $15 to replace. So what does Apple do? Bolt it to the back of the monitor, so when it dies, you have to pay hundreds to get Apple to fix it, if you are out of warranty, which you probably are because most Apple users don't bother with the warranty. And that's not too bad, now that they are cutting back on warranties. I just got an iPod touch for a friend. I love mine, which I got just at the end of the last generation. When I got mine, a three year "extended warranty" meant you got three years on top of the one year warranty. Now it replaces the one year warranty, but goes by the same name – extended – and unless you know to ask the salesman, you won't find out that it isn't what you thought until you break your toy and find out you need to buy a new one.

  131. iluvhockey0420 Says:

    It is really too bad that monopolies make capitalism need to have a "cap" a "ceiling" which is not the American way. Being an apple consumer for my entire life (my parents swore to throw a PC out the window if I ever brought one into their home) I support the company and enjoy their products. But there needs to be a limit. Not just with Apple, but with all large companies that seem to be eating up all of the "little fish"….. But how can we ever beat the giants that control our country?????

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    Perhaps these strategies are great as the fact that they have the brains advantages. But it would be a mistake to think that only these few drive all of Apple’s vision and long term strategy. Indeed, as I understand it, the visionary conclusions they come to that drive Apple is quite a collaborative effort.

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