Apple spends billions each year on research and development (R&D), buying back stock, and gives money away via dividends to shareholder freeloaders. Each year Apple spends many millions more to buy smaller companies that have developed products or services that integrate well into the company’s strategy and ecosystem.
Here are some examples. NeXT (which fathered Mac OS X and macOS, Siri, Emagic (which brought about GarageBand and Logic Pro), Shazam, Beats electronics, P.A. Semi (chip designer), and many others.
There are many major companies that Apple could have bought or bought into but did not. Which ones? And why not?
I have a list.
Apple could have purchased graphic and media design company Adobe.
- Google was founded in 1998 and Apple could have been an early investor and eventual buyer.
- YouTube began in early 2005 and rose to fame by providing users with a free place to upload videos of any kind and became the world’s most influential video source. Again, Apple could have been an investor and maybe a buyer. YouTube was bought by Google.
- Facebook started life in 2008, back when MySpace was king of the online social media craze. Apple could have been an early investor, too, perhaps a buyer; except for one big reason.
- Instagram was founded in 2010 and is not even a decade old. Could Apple have invested in or bought Instagram? Yes. Why not?
- Twitter launched 13 years ago, in early 2006, and while the company has struggled to grow and make money, it does command a mindshare that few social media companies own. Apple could afford Twitter with just six months of profits.
Why didn’t Apple jump on any of those bandwagons that made their original owners and investors rich, each of which has hundreds of millions to billions of daily users?
It’s likely that money was an issue for Apple back in the last century or early part of the 21st century. Apple struggled to make a profit and did not have much cash on hand. Besides, Steve Jobs’ vision seemed more adept at hardware and software than social media.
It could also be that Jobs recognized the dangers in such platforms, all of which have major social issues and implications that draw the wrath and ire of politicians and citizens. Simply put, Google, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube are cesspools of false information that– because of their size and business model– simply cannot be monitored properly.
No hardware company would want to get involved in that kind of difficulty, so maybe it was wise that Apple focused most of its buyouts on technology that could be well integrated into the company, instead of buying addendums with a large user base but with little in common to the company’s core.
Apple is a hardware company.