Forget Netflix or Tesla, here are three companies Apple should really buy

Apple is sitting on a mountain of cash, and often uses this money to expand its business by acquiring others. Sometimes, it’s a consumer-facing product or service. Texture morphed into Apple News+. Workflow led to the Shortcuts app. Beats still makes headphones under its own brand, but the Beats music service essentially became Apple Music.

Other times it’s a relatively unheard of technology companies. The acquisition of PrimeSense lead to the TrueDepth module for Face ID and Animoji.

When the pundits talk about who Apple should buy next, they usually get it all wrong. Top suggestions include Netflix or Disney, because Apple wants to play in streaming video production and subscription services. Or Tesla, because we all know Apple is working on self-driving car technology and some assume that it will someday make a car. Spotify appears on a lot of these lists, because it is Apple Music’s biggest competitor.

These are all boneheaded ideas. They give Apple something it can easily compete without, or saddle it with massive baggage, or in the case of Tesla, it would launch the company into a massive business that is wildly different from anything it has ever done before and fraught with peril.

Apple should buy these three companies instead: Yelp, Peloton, and Dark Sky.

What’s wrong with Netflix, Disney, or Spotify?

Buying Netflix would give Apple a big content distribution network and huge production pipeline with tons of shows. But Apple doesn’t want to be the creator of adult-oriented shows with sex and violence, so many of Netflix’s hit originals wouldn’t fit with the company ethos at all. 

Netflix’s other big asset is a huge international content delivery network. Apple already has one, which it uses to distribute OS updates, App Store purchases, iTunes movies and TV shows, and Apple Music all over the world. Frankly, for the astronomical price of Netflix, Apple could just buy its own library of exclusive content from a bevy of top-tier talent and independent production companies, giving it complete control and exactly the kind of content it wants. Which is exactly what it’s doing with Apple TV+.

apple tv plus hero Apple

Buying Netflix of Disney would cost many times more than Apple just buying its own original content. 

The same is true of Disney, only more so. Disney would give Apple tons of great brands, including all those Disney classics, Star Wars, Marvel, Pixar, and more. But it would saddle Apple with even more stuff the company really has no interest in, like theme parks, broadcast and cable TV networks, and theatrical production. As with Netflix, Apple would have to divest itself of lots of properties and brands it would almost certainly rather not be the source of, like The Family Guy