So I’m catching up on the Internet and apparently the rumour mill is firing on the speculation that Apple might use some of its substantial equity to pick up Facebook.
They can probably afford it without skipping a heartbeat. The high mark up of iOS devices has made them immensely rich. It’s not really their thing though.
Apple just doesn’t really suit Facebook. Apple have very little web experience, and their control freak nature just wouldn’t mesh well with the half a billion people on Facebook. Apple are also lacking heavily in web experience. At best they’d be able to slap a shiny sheen on it all and call it ‘iFacebook’ but they’d struggle to integrate it with it’s service. It wouldn’t tie in with the vertical stack of the ‘Apple experience’. And as Gigaom says on the link above,
I can see Jobs wanting to acquire some social networking IP to bolster its efforts with Ping, but buying Facebook to accomplish that would be like swatting a fly with a nuclear bomb.
However Apple do need to look into expanding it’s web presence. Apart from Mobile.Me they don’t have much in web based software offerings. Largely relying on other people to bring the web to the Appstore. This is going to be problematic for them. By the end of this year Apple, MS and Google will each have a desktop OS, They’ll each have a Mobile OS, but only MS and Google have a web presence and cloud based solutions. Having a smartphone is becoming a very popular option, a small portable computer with you wherever you go. And they could potentially start to override traditional desktop sales as smartphones and tablets become more common. But the web is the overriding mesh that ties it all together. IF you can do most of what you need just through a web browser, something Google are betting on with ChromeOS, then you can use any device as long as it has a web browser. It won’t matter if it’s a desktop, laptop, tablet, phone, console, whatever. The web is ubiquitous.
This nature of the web means people may be less inclined to have any reason to pick up a iOS device. Android devices tie heavily with Googles services, and Windows Phone 7 hooks into MS offerings as well as close support to Facebook, and the very lucrative XBL hook up. Apple have nothing to offer like that. With the inevitable slide of iOS devices, which is already showing, they need an ace up their sleeves. Their Mac sales are stale and nowhere near the margins iOS devices offer to keep them up should that market collapse.
In the 90’s MS had the race with Netscape to become the main portal to the web. Now you need to be the web if you want to get anywhere. Cloud is the future, and the cloud doesn’t give a shit if you’re Justin Long or John Hodgeman. It’ll still eat you up and poop out the same shit.