Google and Apple have eaten Microsoft's lunch, but Google is going to eat Apple's if Apple isn't careful. Remember the old Mac vs. PC battle of the late 80s, early 90s? Remember who won? That's right Microsoft forced Apple nearly to the brink by opening up its OS. Of course, this isn't a problem, yet. Apple is getting fat profit margins on its premium hardware, and it can always open up its OS when it does become a problem.
More importantly, Google owns the Internet. It has data on everyone in the world, and it uses that data to sell ungodly amounts of ads and analytics. Apple doesn't have that. More important, Google has innovative employees and enough user data to pick attractive new products and an ability to link them together through the broadest Single Sign-On mechanism on the Internet or in Mobile. This will only make Google's data more valuable. In a decade Google will control a plurality of ads and analytics dollars worldwide. In a few decades it could control a majority of such data.
Apple needs a partner which can help it to make more inroads into this market. And who better to partner up with than Yahoo!? Yahoo! has a huge on-line user base that's very active in communities. It boasts one of the most successful web portals, and the leading picture-centered social network in Flickr. Yahoo! could give Apple the users, on-line engagement, and broad communities that it needs.
Straight acquisition? Maybe. Better yet, feel out the anti-trust regulators first.
If the regulators won't allow Apple to gobble up Yahoo!, then the Microsoft deal could show the way.
Apple could finance a private takeover of Yahoo! as Microsoft financed Michael Dell. WIth the cash Apple has, it could finance a huge portion. It could pick it's suitor.
So what are the possibilities? Apple could finance a tech mogul along with private equity. Bob Parson (founder of GoDaddy), Marisa Meyer (current Yahoo! CEO), Sean Parker (Napster, Facebook), Elon Musk (founder of PayPal) are all possibilities. But I think there is a better spouse for Yahoo!
Apple should finance a takeover of Yahoo! by a group of traditional media companies, Disney, Viacom, Universal.
This would make a new media company focused on monetizing traditional media and opposing the ads and analytics behemoth, Google. Of course these companies would be happy to partner with Apple on content monetization, analytics, and advertising. iTunes downloads have a lot higher margines that YouTube views, right?
Apple will still need to find a way to fight the hardware portable, Android OS, but at least it would have a fighting chance in the war for user data./p>
Don't even get me started on Facebook...