A plugged-in M&A source tells us Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services is on the prowl for acquisitions in the social media space.Two targets jump to mind: Pinterest and Path.
Pinterest is a photo-sharing/collecting site that you may not have heard of, but your wife, mother, and sister have been using for three months now. It’s had a little hiccup in user-growth, but only because it’s been hyped so much, millions of people tried it who were never going to be long-term users anyway.
Path is a mobile-only social network cofounded by Dave Morin, an Apple veteran who also spent a couple years working at Facebook. It’s not very popular at all, but its beloved by Silicon Valley early adopters. Also, it’s iPhone app is very pretty; and Apple loves pretty.
Apple has been unsuccessful building its own social Internet products. Ping, a network for iTunes users, was a big flop.
A dark horse acquisition target for Apple could be Twitter. It’s already deeply integrated into iOS. The problem is that Twitter would cost as much as $10 billion.
Here is some more irresponsible speculation: We’ve heard a rumour that Twitter and Facebook were not the only companies pursuing Instagram for acquisitions. A couple days ago, Apple marketing exec Phil Schiller quit Instagram in a huff. People have speculated that he was upset that Instagram launched on Android. Maybe he was upset about something else?
One last thought that might irritate you after reading all this speculation: It’s conventional wisdom that Apple needs to do something about the fact that it is nowhere on the Internet and even closer to zero when it comes to social. We’re not sure why this matters. The main purpose of Apple’s software business is to drive hardware sales. How does owning Pinterest, Path, or Instagram help that?