Breaking News: Apple’s CEO Had A Tuna Fish Sandwich For Lunch Yesterday
(This post originally appeared on Forbes)
What, you didn’t hear? Then you missed out on this big, big news over the weekend. If you’d like to catch up, just search for “Apple” and “Beats Electronics” and you’ll end up looking at more than 1,700 stories alone. Bloggers, tech writers, analysts and pundits have been jumping all over each other to make their thoughts heard about this “giant” deal. For example, here’s one blogger’s explanation of why Apple is wooing the headphone maker. Venture Beat offers a history of Beats Electronics “from inception to Apple.” Forbes’ Bobby Owsinksi explains why the deal makes sense, an investor thinksit’s a “good deal” but PC Magazine’s Ean Dashevsk has 5 reasons why Appleshouldn’t do the deal (#4: “Fashion doesn’t last”). Will Dr. Dre join the company? How will the iTunes business be affected? What did Tim Cook have for lunch yesterday? A tuna sandwich? Was that wise? Ooh…maybe Apple is investing in StarKist?
This is really not such a big deal. Yes, it would be Apple’s largest acquisition ever. But companies like Apple do acquisitions all the time. Sure, $3.2 billion is a lot money. But this doesn’t come anywhere nearthe ten biggest acquisitions ever (example: Comcast CMCSA -0.97%’s announced acquisition of Time WarnerTWX -0.24% is valued at about $67 billion) and not even close to Facebook’s recent purchase of WhatsApp for $19 billion. But it’s 2014 and companies, particularly giant tech companies, have a lot of money. Apple has more than $151 billion in cash alone on its balance sheet. So a mere $3 billion is a rounding error. Yes, it’s the biggest move Tim Cook has made so far. But snapping up a little maker of headphones makes zero impact on the company’s profit and has little to do with their overall business model. Why did they do it? What does it mean?
The more important question to ask is: why do we care so much?
We care because the world is starved for any news from the world’s most innovative company. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been much. And this should be more of a concern than whether the Beats acquisition makes sense or not. There was once a time when Apple was changing the world, introducing new and exciting products that captured our imaginations. A glorious phone followed by a glorious tablet. A service that gave us instant music. Products that looked beautiful and actually worked reliably. The company still offers these. But since Tim Cook has taken over, it seems like the most innovative thing the company has done is release upgrades to the iPhone. And bought a company that makes headphones.
Apple has been talking and talking about “exciting new products.” Even as recently as a few weeks ago the company’s Cook told the Wall Street Journalthat they are “closer than ever” to a new product category and are “eagerly looking forward to introducing more new products.” Please don’t tell me that this Beats acquisition is what he means. I’m impatient. I love Apple. Maybe I’ve been preconditioned for them to change the world every few years.
Because there is so much more Apple could be doing: why are we still paying with credit cards instead of our devices? Where’s that smartwatch you keep talking about? How come I’m forced to buy my TV programming from one monolithic company? Why am I cursing complete strangers because they beat me to a plug in the airport and I’ve only got 5% battery life left? Why is Google leading the world in wearables and designing driverless cars? How come Amazon is delivering products on Sundays and seriously attempting to make drones commonplace? How come NetFlix all of a sudden is making better shows than HBO? Why is Samsung developing foldable smartphones? Why is Richard Branson selling tickets to outer space? How is it that Facebook is changing the way the world sends messages and investing in 3D gaming technology? Even Microsoft is making news with its new CEO who promises great applications across all devices.
And now there’s big news from Cupertino: Apple buys a maker of headphones. Really, company-formerly-run-by-Steve Jobs? That’s all you got? Headphones?