Apple’s Next Big Move

It would be the understatement of the year if I was to say that Apple is doing pretty well.  They have the hottest devices, most reliable OS, and quite possibly the greatest marketing department ever assembled.  In the past 6 years Apple’s stock price has gone from $36 to $336 a share.  They’re making money like crazy, but not exactly spending it.  Over the years they have amassed an estimated $65 billion in cash reserves.  That’s enough money to buy a small country, or at least do something really cool.

Right now, what’s the one thing that Apple doesn’t have full control over involving any of their products?  Cellular service.  Apple is at the mercy of the cellular providers when it comes to how the iPhone and iPad connect to the web.  Confined to the providers bandwidth, network, and price plans.  Now, I know what you’re thinking, “Apple can’t buy Verizon or AT&T.”  Thats right, they can’t. Probably couldn’t buy Sprint either (all though not out of the realm of possibility).  The truth is they don’t need to purchase a cellular company, all they need is data. All they need is Clearwire.

Clearwire is a “4G” data provider that sells service on its own and as Sprint’s 4G provider.  This makes a lot of sense for Apple since all they need is a data connection.  They have established that they can send voice over data through facetime, so traditional cellular service is not necessary.  Apple haveing full control over their own data network would open the floodgates for new innovations with their mobile devices.

I think this could be a real possibility, and have been pondering this for some time now, and I’m not the only one.  So what do you think?  Is this Apple’s next big move?

Update: Apparently Steve Jobs had the same idea early on.

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4 Responses to Apple’s Next Big Move

  1. Nate Lee says:

    Interesting idea! It got me thinking. There are two major barriers, in my opinion, to Apple rolling out their own data network: 1) regulation, and 2) specialization. Followed by a bonus.

    Regulation: governments (federal, state, and local) make such an endeavor very complicated and expensive. Apple would need a very compelling reason to take on the tremendous burden (infrastructure, licensing spectrum, etc) and expense (same)… Which they get for free from the current carriers… Actually they get PAID by them. 🙂 Rolling their own network negates that.

    Specialization: Apple’s a device company. They’re becoming a SaaS company and cloud storage company… Poorly (MobileMe roll out was a disaster!). Big Telecom is a very different and specialized field in which Apple has very little experience (and that only from developing the iPhone and working with telcos).

    And, as a final thought: buying ClearWire only gets them a US presence. They sell a lot of devices in the rest of the world – are they supposed to roll their own infrastructure in every country? If not, they create the haves and have-nots; if so, then they frighten off current and future carrier partners, killing revenue.

    They’ve got a golden goose right now, being in bed with all the major carriers of the world – I don’t think they’ll risk that by striking out on their own for now. Maybe if the carriers really do become “dumb pipes” in a few years… 🙂

    • seaofgeek says:

      Those are a lot of great points and they definitely add a dynamic to the idea I hadn’t thought about. With that said, what do you think Apple will do with all that cash?

  2. click here says:

    Im getting a teeny problem. I cant get my reader to pickup your feed, Im using msn reader by the way.

    • Matt Pugh says:

      Try using google reader to see if it still works. I also haven’t posted in some time so I don’t know what rss readers do when there is a lack of content. That should hopefully change soon though. 🙂

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