The Macalope: Acquiring minds


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It’s 2014, so it’s high time we fixed Apple, don’t you think?

Writing for USA Today, Alistair Barr declares “2014: Apple’s crunch year to prove innovation chops.”

Well, OK, Tim Cook has had his say and it does seem like 2014 would be a good time to introduce a completely new product line, so this isn’t completely …

Concerns about Apple’s ability to create new products in big new categories prompts proposal that the tech giant should acquire Tesla and team up with visionary Elon Musk.

… nuts.

Apple CEO Tim Cook spent 2013 fighting creeping concerns that the company has lost its innovation edge and hinting about new products that will take the Silicon Valley giant into exciting new categories.

Meanwhile Apple’s competitors innovated new product categories to satisfy creeper concerns, like how better to stalk teh laydeez.

While it was going to be impossible to replace the creative genius of Steve Jobs …

Who was the only person working at Apple through 2011. You can really see how far the quality of Apple’s products has slipped since he stopped doing all the soldering.

… Cook is increasingly seen as a smart operations leader, rather than a creative innovator.

Which is a total surprise to everyone who thought the senior vice president of operations would be better at things other than operations. Seems obvious in retrospect that Apple should have gotten Alicia Keys.

“People are questioning Cook’s status as a leader of an innovative company. Maybe he’s just a great operator,” said Josh Stewart, portfolio manager at the Wasatch World Innovators Fund, who sold his Apple shares earlier this year.

Depending on when he sold those shares, people are also probably questioning Josh Stewart’s investment advice, as the stock had a nice climb in the second half of the year.

“That was more than two years ago and there’s been nothing else so far,” Stewart added. “I got frustrated and moved on.”

And now I want you too to justify my decision.

Such worry even prompted one analyst to suggest Apple should buy electric car company Tesla Motors …

Because it’s a thing that could be done. And Apple must do something. Some thing. Now. Even if it’s a crazy thing that makes no sense.

… partly because founder and CEO Elon Musk is considered more capable of driving future innovation.

Car puns!

Apple spokesman Steve Dowling declined to comment …

He did sigh heavily, though.

“It is all about what new avenues of growth there are for Apple over the next five years and beyond,” [Adnaan Ahmad, a veteran tech analyst at Berenberg Bank] added.

The TV market, with roughly $100 billion in annual revenue, and the watch business, which is worth about $40 billion annually, are not big enough, he argued.

And we all know that the digital music player market stayed exactly the same size after Apple entered it.

The auto industry, in contrast …

Makes a ton of money! And it’s easy! Apple would just introduce a new iCar every year and everyone would rush out to get one! For, you know, like $30,000.

The modern Apple is not a company that runs out and acquires an existing company as a means to get into a new industry. It acquires complimentary technologies to fit into its own plans. It’s kind of odd that mythical antlered beasts get this and Wall Street technology industry analysts don’t.

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