At the annual Apple shareholder’s meeting yesterday, CEO Steve Jobs reiterated again the fact that Apple is a mobile device company focused on small acquisitions to grow its businesses using the nearly $26 billion pile of cash its sitting on. Through its acquisition history and future plans, its clear that Apple wants to own every piece of each “mobile device” they offer, especially the iPhone.
At the shareholder’s meeting, Jobs expressed his continued interest in acquiring companies based on their talent and technology, not by their perceived market position, meaning the company will go after small startups that offer highly focused technology, or highly skilled and knowledgeable founders. The company wants to acquire startups that can help bolster certain aspects of its products- a perfect example being the low-key acquisition of a mapping startup a while back to help Apple develop its own in-house mapping solution.
It’s clear the company wants to own every aspect of the devices they offer, and they’re already on the right track. With the iPhone, the company directly handles the hardware, software, the mobile commerce and music aspects via iTunes, mobile application distribution via its App store, and soon its own mapping solution, effectively locking out all third-parties and positioning itself to keep the iPhone (and all its revenue streams) all to itself.
One obvious priority is to directly dominate the mobile advertising flowing through iPhones and their subsequent content. With Quattro wireless waiting in the wings, it will soon pull the trigger and offer a unique in-house mobile advertising solution to the thriving community of developers surrounding the iPhone and the future iPad. By Quattro being the default solution, and being included in the iPhone SDK, it will effectively lock out other ad-networks without explicitly doing so, keeping yet another aspect of the iPhone ecosystem all to themselves.
With a location-aspect being paramount in mobile advertising, its in-house mapping solution will play a huge role as well, meaning Apple can offer developers and advertisers one of the most comprehensive and well-rounded mobile solutions available, without forcing them to seek certain aspects elsewhere. When a developer wants to develop, distribute and monetize their applications, Apple will be there to handle the entire process from design to monetization. This puts Apple in a unique and highly powerful position.
With $26 billion in the bank, and a highly focused acquisition strategy, Apple is on track to dominate the mobile ecosystem on several levels. This was the message Jobs had for shareholders yesterday, and as history has proved, he usually delivers.