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Heh! Of course, I had to chime in, given the fairly implausible nature of many of the suggestions.. Wired had a little article noting Apple's sitting on a $25b cash pile these days, and posited possible acquisitions, inviting readers to suggest their own.

So.. can you guess which was mine?

FWIW, I'd be surprised if they made any large purchases, even with the current financial climate favoring buyers - it's not something the company tends to indulge in, preferring mostly quite specific pickups like the app that became iTunes, or Raycer, whose low power 3D graphics expertise likely found its way into the iPhone.
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I wonder what's going to become of all the rivalries, if - as seems quite likely - GM and Chrysler merge. ^_^ All so tragic for the masses of workers laid off in recent years, yet so avoidable, had all those involved not buried their heads in the sand regarding improved fuel efficiency; but no, the bosses, union leaders, and political leaders all insisted improved standards (raising them to vaguely approaching EU levels, horrors!) would put foreign manufacturers at an advantage. And just look what happened.. =:P

What puzzles me about all that hot air about the task being so difficult is that they're all global players anyway, and have the technology on sale in other markets already. All rather fishy.

Me? I'll just keep taking the bus. ^_^ (Or, in this job's case, walking. I consume very little coal, and try to keep the oil to a minimum =:)

'Course, if we're looking at the most Apple-compatible car maker, it'd have to be Tesla - zrath posted some good little pics of their toy and the local showroom a month or so ago, and it was quite strikingly reminiscent of the way Apple might do things, I felt, even if not quite as affordably. (Been in a Prius? So neat, hearing the quietness of the electric motor in action)

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I believe they sold off the last of theirs around 2004. It was non-voting stock anyway, so not something they could use to directly influence the company. The origins of the purchase aren't public, but seemed to've arisen from a legal settlement between the companies over a case Apple brought against Microsoft. (Ah, no.. much earlier than that! Seems they sold AAPL in two blocks, in 2000 and 2001 (down in the comments), making a handsome profit on it)

Hmm. With Jobs eventually leaving the company, maybe they'll run a Wonka style competition to take over the reigns. =:D

Well, the only real choices are Sony, Walt Disney or Dell, and I can't see them buying Dell. Sony makes sense as a peripheral company for Apple and for the gaming systems. Walt Disney is almost theirs now by way of Pixar.

They can't buy Microsoft because Microsoft has more money than they do and isn't interested in being bought - if anything, if it weren't for anti-competition issues, it would be more likely that Microsoft would buy Apple.

Of the list they offer:

Companies that are large enough to resist and aren't interested in being bought: EA, AutoDesk, Nintendo, Amazon, Google... etc

Akami makes sense. AMD and/or nVidia also makes a kind of sense - but Apple doesn't need to have an inhouse CPU/GPU maker. They can get Intel and AMD to do that for them for free. Maybe if AMD tanks a bit more though.

I don't think Apple could pull off AT&T and they'd have to deal with the regulatory nightmare that would come with that. Apple's not good at complying with regulations.

In fact, it's far more likely that Apple won't acquire anyone to large, but will pick up a few small companies with expertise in specific areas that Apple is weak in.
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I'm not sure I'd see much need for that, really - Final Cut's doing very nicely in the mid and low end, given it scales so readily from PowerBooks to octocore Mac Pros. But Digidesign as a whole, now, that could be quite good fun.

As for the article's ideas, I quite like the notion of EA - improved OS X and iPhone support would be nice to see, and perhaps EA could become a much less scummy company to work for. Pretty low on the probability scale, of course, but a fun idea.

I don't know...
From what I can tell, they've increased their cash holdings every year, and every quarter this year. I don't think they ever intend to spend it. :-o