Apple Inc. (AAPL): Expensive Acquisitions That Went Wrong

iphone 8 apple stockElisaRiva / Pixabay

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), known for its innovation and user friendly gadgets, has over the years unveiled new successful products—some of them contributed by the acquisitions of other startups that complement its technology and provide greater value to users. For instance Mac OS X and iOS successes were due to the purchase of NeXt in 1997. Additionally, iPod was an instant success and was a class apart from the competitors because Apple acquired SoundJam MP in 2000.

 Apple Inc. (AAPL): Expensive Acquisitions That Went Wrong

However, not all the acquisitions made by the iPhone maker have worked out well. Many purchases weighed heavily on the company and were misfits in Apple’s technology and product pipeline, according to a report from BusinessInsider.

Unfortunate acquisitions by Apple

Back in 1995, Apple authorized Power Computing Corporation to make Mac clones, expecting that Apple can adapt a business model similar to Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), which was thriving on the back of Windows 95. However, Steve Jobs, upon returning to the company in 1997, noticed that Microsoft was way ahead and successful, which would be hard to match. Further the Mac clones posed more of a threat to Apple rather than a benefit by damaging its own high-margins Macs.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) bought Power Computing Corp for $100 million and then closed the Mac clone business—the move, though embarrassing, was a necessary step.

Another wrong-headed purchase was Orion Network Systems, which Apple acquired in 1988, to make buying an Apple computer at a business that already used lots of IBM PCs less of a hassle.

IBM, at that time, was ruling the market with 80 percent of market share and Apple was left with as little as 6 percent. Although the software was apt for networking, Apple lacked features such as price, faced problems with other software incompatibilities and had problems training workers who had never used a computer in their lives.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) acquired Placebase in 2009 with many expecting that it will replace Google Maps from the iPhone Maps App. The company launched iOS 6 and Apple Maps after three years. iMaps was stuck with many defects and was subjected to criticism that made Google Maps much more attractive.

In 2001, Apple acquired PowerSchool for $62 million in shares, which took many by surprise as the enterprise software was for a niche market, which in no way complements Apple’s style. Later, Apple sold the software to Pearson Education in 2006 for an undisclosed sum.

Bob Mansfield the only good thing from Raycer Graphics purchase

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) bought Raycer Graphics in 1999, which did not prove to be very vital for the company. However, along with acquiring Raycer, Apple also hired Bob Mansfield, their vice president of engineering.

Raycer technology may not have been very helpful to Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), but still the acquisition can be seen as a success due to Mansfield’s efforts. Later, Mansfield became head of Mac Hardware Engineering after heading the release of some of the most popular computers in the company’s history. He was given the post of senior Vice President of Technologies.

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About the Author

Aman Jain
Aman is MBA (Finance) with an experience on both Marketing and Finance side. He has worked as a Risk Analyst for AIR Worldwide, and is currently leading VeRa FinServ, a Financial Research firm. Favorite pastimes include watching science fiction movies, reviewing tech gadgets, playing PC games and cricket. - Email him at [email protected]

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