Future Apple-Microsoft Merger a Distinct Possibility: Analyst

by Matt Klassen on December 11, 2013

Could you envision a future where Apple and Microsoft merge to become one, an AppleSoft if you will? While absolutely unthinkable to most of us—and utter heresy to anyone who remembers the Apple vs. PC wars of decades gone by—there may come a time in the not-so-distant future where those two companies will need each other to be able to compete with the growing power of both Google/Android and Facebook.

Keith Fitz-Gerald, an analyst with Money Map Press, advanced this improbable theory during an interview with Fox Business’ Stuart Varney earlier this week, one clearly based on the old adage that “the enemies of my enemies are my friends.” While he acknowledges the improbability of such a merger, Fitz-Gerald did his best to sell his unlikely vision of the future. “This is one of those unthinkable but absolutely possible deals,” Fitz-Gerald told Varney.

But just how possible is such a future? Could we see some sort of AppleSoft amalgamation in the next 5-10 years? While its certainly the sort of prediction that grabs headlines across the tech world, the reality is that even if these companies weren’t the stubborn sorts that they are, both of whom who would rather go down swinging than merge to stay alive, there’s no way the government regulatory authorities would allow such a deal to pass.

Taking a moment to entertain such an outlandish prediction, there is precedent for these two companies partnering together for their mutual benefit. In 1997, just weeks before Apple would have been forced into bankruptcy, Microsoft came to the rescue, sinking $150 million into its rival; allowing Apple to regain its footing, consolidate its various offerings, and move on to become the mobile behemoth it is today.

At the time the Microsoft Empire was at the height of its power, its seemingly altruistic investment in its competitor done simply to keep prowling antitrust regulators at bay. While I would guess today Microsoft may regret being the catalyst for Apple’s current iPhone and iPad domination; that is a story for another time.

But that said, does it lend any more credence to Fitz-Gerald’s unlikely merger scenario? Fitz-Gerald himself acknowledged in the interview that his claim was “pure speculation,” and of course at this stage of the game it would be, Apple and Microsoft don’t need each other…yet, but that certainly doesn’t mean they won’t need each other down the road.

“Look at what Apple wants to accomplish with the mobile market,” Fitz-Gerald said. “You look at the one Microsoft initiative. And you look at the cross-pollinization of devices. Content is king. Security is king. And you’ve got a user base between the Millennials and the senior citizens who have to have easy-to-use, functional stuff that is transparent between devices.”

An intriguing theory, to be sure, but I think I’m going to need a little more than common goals in the mobile market to entertain the notion of a future merger between these bitter rivals. Even if government regulatory bodies would allow such a charade to occur (which they wouldn’t), it just seems impossible. Sure they have common enemies in Google and Facebook, sure those enemies are growing in power and market control, but I would guess that both Apple and Microsoft would rather go down in flames on their own terms then to humbly admit that they needed an AppleSoft consolidation to continue to stay relevant.

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Written by: Matt Klassen. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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