Friday, October 24, 2008

The relative sizes of Apple, GM, and Alcoa

Wired's Epicenter blog has an interesting post about Apple's financial situation: thanks to their blockbuster iPod and solid laptop division, they've got $25 billion in the bank, and no debts. A normal company would buy some of its suppliers or competitors, but Apple doesn't have any competitors worth buying, and it's never been much for absorbing other companies. It's made some relatively small acquisitions in the past (that's gotta be the most convenient and unexpected article I've ever seen on Wikipedia), but nothing really looks appetizing in the current market. But anyway, the most interesting part is the "Wild Blue Yonder" section, where they list interesting but totally implausible companies for Apple to buy:

Here are some wacky ideas for companies that Apple could buy with a little more than the spare change it finds in the couch cushions: Cray ($115M), in case Apple wants to corner the market for creative supercomputer users; Alcoa ($3B), for all that shiny aluminum showing up in the new MacBooks; Seagate ($3B), in case the company feels like reinventing the hard drive; or General Motors ($3B), in case Jobs wants to reinvent the car.

First of all, it's amazing to me that Cray's total market cap (i.e., value) is less than 1% of Apple's cash on hand. And Alcoa, the aluminum multinational giant, and GM (that GM), are barely worth 10% of Apple's on hand cash. My, how the economy has changed...

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