Whenever Apple moves to purchase a company, you know they’ve got something up their sleeves, and it’s not hard to imagine the possibilities of their latest acquisition: maker of fingerprint sensor chips, AuthenTec.
There have been a lot of ideas suggested for what Apple could do with its nearly $100 billion in cash. Some have been serious suggestions like companies that Apple could buy while others are a little more absurd but illustrate just how much money Apple’s got.
Today, Warren Buffett revealed to viewers of CNBC’s Squawk Box that Steve Jobs wasn’t sure what to do with all the money Apple began raking in over recent years and asked for advice. He ultimately ignored that advice in his typical fashion while telling others that Buffett agreed with his decision for Apple to just sit on its money.
Apple announced this week the acquisition of Chomp, an app-search startup.
Chomp CEO Ben Keighran is reportedly working already in Apple’s marketing department, and CTO Cathy Edwards is already employed as a senior iTunes engineer.
Chomp crawls the data associated with all the apps in an app store and uses a sophisticated algorithm-based search function to enable people to search and actually find the apps they really want. Less appreciated by the public (but not Apple) is what appear to be incredible analytics tools, enabling a deep understanding of what people are searching for, how successful they are at finding it and detecting meaningful trends in app demand.
Sound familiar? Search algorithms and analytics are Google’s core competency.
Along with iTunes (ten minutes to transfer a TV show to my iPad?), the iTunes Apps Store is possibly the worst experience one can have while using Apple products. You can never find anything good; all the listings are clogged with scam software and other crap; and it is slow, slow, slow. The good news is that Apple looks set to fix it, with the purchase of Chomp.
Google has sent letters out to various standards organizations, including the IEEE, promising to honor MMI’s patent licensing policies after it completes its planned acquisition of the company. This includes honoring MMI’s maximum go-forward per-unit royalty rate of 2.25%. This is the same rate MMI is asking Apple to pay in order to lift the injunction on the iPhone and iPad 3G passed down in Germany. Apple has rejected this offer and is fighting it, claiming it’s unfair and contrary to the principles of FRAND licensing commitments. No matter the outcome of the Apple/Motorola dispute, Google will be honoring it once they take over.
Earlier in the week, it was reported that Apple might have acquired Wi-Gear, a company that makes the iMuff line of wireless Bluetooth headphones.
The evidence seemed pretty good for a secret buyout. Not only did Wi-Gear’s home page feature a somewhat unceremonious message about the company ceasing operations and being unable to respond to any press inquiries, but Wi-Gear co-founder moved to Apple as an iOS Bluetooth Engineer.
Unfortunately, like many good rumors, the evidence didn’t add up to the truth of things. Asked about a buyout by Macworld, Wi-Gear CEO Mark Pundsack said: “I wish!”
It seems that Google and Apple might be in another bidding war… this time to acquire BOKU, a payment startup which aims to bring “bank-grade payments technology” to mobile gadgets like the iPhone or iPad.