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What’s Not Next For Apple

Jamelle Bouie linked to this interesting take on what’s next for Apple, foreseeing moves into the payments business, a true Apple television, search, and even a deep delve into cars.

Maybe so. What I think is interesting, however, is a scenario that we can be completely confident won’t be next for Apple. The company definitely will not return its existing stockpile of cash to shareholders, announce a plan to quietly plug along in its existing profitable business lines, sharply raise dividends, and generally resolve to slowly fade into the darkness as a hugely profitable investment for its owners that’s doomed to be overtaken by some newer more innovative company. Instead, like all the other cash-rich profitable tech companies it’s going to fight for the interests of the firm as such. Rather than parking a nice quiet landing that ensures its owners make money but the firm goes extinct, it’ll furiously try to enter new lines of business in hopes of living forever. Microsoft doesn’t just say “well, Windows and Office are fantastic moneymakers so we’re set.” It takes that money and spends on it trying to get into the mobile phone and online services businesses. With the XBox it even succeeded.

Firms want to live forever! And while some of these gambit succeed, it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that the general instinct toward firm-level survival causes more losses than it avoids.

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