Image via CrunchBase
The notion that Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), in a post-Steve Jobs era, would be driven to merge with Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) because they are “rapidly converging” anyway is not only absurd and improbable, but a slight to both companies. Never mind that the creation of a nearly $300 billion behemoth would short circuit regulatory agencies worldwide.
Apple and Google are better off doing business with each other at arm’s length, if for no other reason than to keep their agendas and egos in check. If the past decade has taught us anything, it is that mergers promising synergies beyond inital cost cuts rarely work. The marketplace benefits from two sound and remarkable autonomous competitors.
A long-winded essay about Apple CEO Steve Jobs in the Times of London concludes that a Jobs-less Apple and Google would likely merge based on the pivotal points at which their companies intermingle and compete, such as mobile phones, operating systems, web browsers and applications — united in the common goal of toppling Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT). In their own right, Google and Apple are about so much more.
I believe they are different enough and competitively significant enough on their own that merging is a pointless consideration that fails to take into account how much more radical digital world change is ahead. The innovation, market savvy and creative disruption that Apple and Google provide as dueling giants are more important than a vain attempt to pool their resources under one roof.
Consolidation in many industries, hastened by the recession, is a normal and necessary winnowing process. Internet, media and technology-related businesses have become too complex and fragmented to be adroitly managed by any unwieldy corporate colossus.
Strategic alliances will be increasingly critical to advancing enterprise with the least resistance. The time of simplistic 2 + 2 = 5 value creation formulas is passed. Apple and Google already get that.
Disclosure: Author does not directly own media or internet stocks.