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Apple To Buy Sony? Or Disney? Or Adobe?

The rumors are flying this morning that Apple is looking to buy Sony, or Adobe or Disney.

Well, at least the pundits on the web don’t think small!

Now I’ve been wrong in the past on many different topics so I could be off base again, but I really can’t think of a strong reason why Apple would bother buying any of these companies.

The basis for the rumor is that Apple has $51 billion in cash burning a hole in its pocket and that CEO Steve Jobs mentioned during a financial webcast that his company might be looking for a deal.

But to me the companies being bandied about on the Internet are just not a good fit.

With its iPod, iPhone and iPad Apple dominates Sony in every category in which they compete. The Walkman made headlines yesterday for the first time in years with news it will ship its last cassette version in Japan. Walkman has not been synonymous with the phrase “portable music players” since abdicating that title to the iPod years ago.

On the computer side of the business, Apple is consistently one of the top five computer shippers in the United States, while Sony is nowhere to be seen on the IDC and Garner quarterly computer share reports.

Apple has managed to build itself into what some reports say is a company with a market cap of $281 billion, compared to Sony’s $51 billion. So why on Earth would it change course and grab a company that is struggling?

The flat-panel display segment is a tougher business than ever before and I doubt 3D is going to change that situation. Home audio? Please.

The lone product area that Sony has to offer to Apple is in gaming. The Playstation is a dominant player in the market, but is it worth buying an entire company just to grab this jewel? I bet if Apple put its mind and engineers on that job it would come out with a console that could give the big three game makers a run for their money.

As for the other possible purchases being floated, here goes:

  • Disney: There is some synergy here. Both Disney and Apple stress excellence and mange to pull it off, albeit in totally different consumer arenas. So unless Apple CEO Steve Jobs really wants to take on the headache of running an entertainment empire I think he would pass.
  • Adobe: That makes even less sense since Apple is in the midst of a mini-feud with Adobe over the use of Flash on its products. In the far distant past, Apple actually was a part owner of Adobe owning a 20 percent stake. According to a note by Jobs posted on Apple’s site last April, his company has several issues with Adobe’s business methodology. Particularly what he called Adobe’s “proprietaryness” when it comes to Adobe software. So why buy something you dislike? Possibly to get rid of it, I suppose.

So, while Apple has enough money to buy whatever it wants, I’m not sure any of the potential acquisitions truly make that much sense.