Microsoft, Google, Yahoo and Apple?

There’s much buzz in the Valley over Google’s leap into the proposed MS/Yahoo deal. WSJ has particularly good reporting on Google’s interest and maneuvers in blocking the deal. When giant tech companies are dealing, pundits can hardly resist commenting on what this means for the rest of the industry. Moi, I am interested in what this means for Apple.

The short answer is “˜probably nothing.’ Apple is something of a phenomenon in that, having utterly missed the Internet (witness .Mac), it has nevertheless managed to bring innovation to the dinosaur businesses of hardware and software, and profited handsomely in the process. Indeed, even Apple’s PC desktop business is thriving, and judging by its share price, the market is expecting much more to come.

So, Apple, IMHO, is unlikely to be anything but an observer in Microsoft’s bid for Yahoo – search and its related businesses would be foreign to Apple’s DNA as expressed in iPhone architects and OS X coders (and marketers). Indeed, if Apple were to do anything, it might be to use the “˜big deal’ atmosphere as cover to bid for businesses that could integrate nicely with its decidedly unique path. Apple is cash-rich, and even with a recent 30% decline in share price, has a market cap well over $100 billion, so financing is available if and when Apple decides to move. Might a certain large maker of graphics software be a potential fit”¦?

Chris Gulker has been a startup executive, advisor, and investor, an advocate for open source software, a senior editor at NewsForge, columnist for London’s Independent, an Apple Computer publishing markets director, Adobe Acrobat Product Manager and founder of,… Full Bio