Apple’s recent purchase of Beats Electronics, their largest purchase to date and Microsoft’s strong moves to be known as a cross-platform rather than platform company has prompted me to think the unthinkable – Microsoft and Apple should merge.
The idea has been floated before, by Keith Fitz-Gerald of Money Map Press who said:
“I think that Apple and Microsoft may not only have to work together for the next few years but may even see a merger in the next five to ten years from now because they’re going to have to take on the Google/Android/Facebooks of the world.”
The competition by giants such as Google would certainly be the biggest prompt, with Google for example recently taking over Apple’s spot as most valuable brand. Google has certainly shown itself to be a fierce competitor to both Microsoft and Apple, having successfully kept Microsoft out of search and attacking Windows with Chromebooks and the iPhone and iPad, Apple’s bread and butter with Android.
The two company’s businesses are also incredibly complementary, with Microsoft strong in areas where Apple is weak, and vice versa,
Examples include Microsoft’s presence in Enterprise, a traditional weakness of Apple, and of course Apple’s strength in devices, a weakness of Microsoft.
There is also clear signs of Apple’s business cooling, with growth slowing and the iPad, the new hope, apparently fading, leaving Apple as a one trick iPhone-pony.
Microsoft on the other hand is largely seen as having missed out on the mobile revolution, and despite a very diversified business appears not to be part of the greatest computing revolution of the 21st century so far.
Even in gaming and the living room, Microsoft is strong with the Xbox, and Apple, despite the App Store, relatively weak.
To add some numbers, nearly all of Apple’s 170 billion revenue in 2013 was from consumers, while more than half of Microsoft’s 77 billion revenue in 2013 was from enterprise.
Of course the biggest objection to the deal would be anti-trust concerns, but due to the complementary nature of the business little competition would in fact be eliminated. Apple is not a significant competitor to Microsoft in Office, Desktop, Xbox or online services, while, despite efforts, Windows Phone is not a significant competitor to iOS. Google will still remain the 800 pound Gorilla in the room to maintain balance.
With the founders no longer in charge in either businesses, it seems now is as a good a time as any to make a clear-headed, mutually advantageous decision.
In an environment of consolidation at a massive scale, where Time Warner and Comcast and Sprint and T-Mobile and WhatsApp and Facebook are all seeking safety in joined numbers, the time seems ripe Microsoft and Apple to hook up.
Do our readers agree?