What if Apple buys Sony? Like the WHOLE THING.
Apple has an event next week, and rumor has it that they will announce an AppleTV that will basically run iOS. As a long time AppleTV user (going all the way back to 2010 and the Original Mac mini sized box), I’m happy about this. I prefer my AppleTV because I have a lot of iTunes content, but I also have a Roku because AppleTV is currently limited to apps that Apple “blesses” and works with partners to get on the platform. This model will be busted wide open when AppleTV runs iOS.
Back to Sony…
I think Apple would benefit greatly from buying Sony outright. Sony’s current market cap is about $27 billion. That’s about how much Apple has in the bank right now. I’m not saying to bet the farm on Sony, but they could easily get the financing. Why should they do it? Here’s a list of things Apple will get if they buy Sony:
- Sony Pictures, Sony Television, Sony Music. All just more content for the new AppleTV. Maybe Apple could start their own streaming service someday.
- Sony Consumer Electronics. I know, there are iPods all over the place. Apple isn’t going to relaunch the MiniDisc, but having that sweet iOS stack running inside a Sony television would certainly make some people happy.
- PlayStation and the PlayStation Network. Let’s face it. Game Center isn’t great. It looks like your grandma’s old Bridge table, and finding people to play against isn’t very intuitive. There’s no in-app chat or screen sharing, and real time games are few and far between. Apple can scoop up PS2/3 users and an entire gaming infrastructure and social network in one shot. Imagine if your Bluetooth PS3 controllers work with the fancy new AppleTV for iOS games. Win-Win.
- Camera Technologies. Carl Zeiss lenses on a smartphone? Why not. Apple already uses Sony’s camera tech in the iPhone 4. Why not own that tech? Seems very Apple. I doubt Apple would sell point-and-shoot cameras, but I could see them using Sony camera tech in phones and high-end pro-level video and photo gear.
- Medical Devices and Patents. Apple isn’t really into medical tech and health, but they could be. iPhones are very personal to each user. There’s no reason to believe we won’t all have more health sensors on our phones or other devices strapped to our bodies in a few years.
- Patents, Patents, Patents. Sony has invented so many life changing technologies over the years. BetaMax, MiniDisc, the Walkman and Discman, Memory Stick, proprietary CD formats, and more. Not to mention all the audio and video codecs they own. Having unfettered access to all that IP could be super useful.
I don’t expect this to happen, mind you. I’m just a guy who likes tech and thinks this is a good idea. I haven’t really gotten into the real meat of it, and never will. It’s just fun to think these things through sometimes. From my perspective, Apple owning a content company AND a gaming company AND a stack of patents a mile high is a no-brainer.