Robert Scoble’s got a touching video on Google Plus today. He’s outside Apple’s Cupertino HQ and talking about his first encounter with an Apple computer. He talks about unboxing an Apple IIGS, the last in the line of pre-Mac Apples and a hugely influential machine in its time. He says:
That was the time I knew my life was going to be different from my dad’s
And I cried as he said it because I recognise that experience. I unboxed my first Mac in my student flat in Camberwell in 1985. And that was my giant fork in the road. I’m wondering how many other lives forked radically with the arrival of one of Mr Jobs’ products and whether you could calculate the cumulative value of all those huge, personal changes of direction? What kind of number would that be? An incalculably large one, I should think.
Er, excuse me for blurting out my first reaction but have you lost your mind? An Apple takeover of Vivendi Universal Music will inevitably be a disaster. Much as I love the cat-among-the-pigeons potential of a tech counter-strike deep in the heart of showbiz-land, we now have decades of evidence that mega-mergers like this one almost always destroy value (and sometimes wipe out the merging businesses).
Here’s an idea: resist the mechanical logic of a merger – “we got a platform, they got content” – the kind of logic that produced AOL/Time Warner. Leave Vivendi Universal to dispose of its music division to some old school media mug and spend that cash pile on technology, design and marketing – stuff that will more directly produce high margin sales which is what a 2% market share luxury goods player like Apple needs most. Thanks to Jack Schofield at Online Blog for the the link.