Is It Time To Go Shopping? (5/23/01)

Long live the Apple handheld rumors! And in lieu of any of those classic "Apple is about to get bought out by [Disney/Sony/Ross Perot]" rumors that are wont to crop up from time to time, why not spend some time chewing on an "Apple is about to buy [insert name of proposed chompee here]" story instead? Especially if you can tie both rumors together into one tidy little piece of rampant guesswork; it's two great tastes that taste great together. Mmmmm, speculicious!

See, when we watched our Palm and Handspring stock spiral down the toilet last week in the wake of Palm's announcement that it's even more brain-damaged about channel inventory control than anyone ever expected (seriously, Apple would need lessons to screw up that badly), our minds wandered back to the fact that Apple (or, more accurately, Steve) tried to buy each company in the past and was rebuffed by both. But in each instance, we're pretty sure that neither company was publicly traded yet, and in light of the fact that last week both companies' stock prices were scraping rock-bottom, we found ourselves wondering whether Apple might consider making a new offer to either "beleaguered" outfit.

We wouldn't have bothered mouthing off about our own such idle speculation here if some other people hadn't started mulling over the possibilities in public first. (Well, not unless we got really bored.) Last Friday after Palm's share price meltdown, Mac OS Rumors indicated that the company might start looking for a buyer, and posted some contemplative ruminations on why Apple could throw a Palm in its shopping cart, but probably wouldn't. And then just today, a article mulls the possibility that Apple might try to buy Handspring again instead, noting the cheaper price tag: $1.3 billion versus $3.7 billion for Palm-- interestingly enough, Apple could buy either in cash. There's also the fact that with a Handspring purchase, Apple would be getting the original Palm creators, and a handheld platform that's not exactly married to the Palm OS; Mac OS X Visor, anyone?

Keep in mind, of course, that Apple buying either Palm or Handspring isn't even a rumor yet; this is all just speculation and idle thought springing from those PDA companies' beleaguerment and Apple's sizeable war chest-- not to mention its complete lack of a presence in the handheld market that it created way back in '93 with the Newton, and Uncle Steve's prior attempts to assimilate those very companies into the Apple family. Still, it's fun to dream. Plus, if it actually happens, we can say "we told you so."

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The above scene was taken from the 5/23/01 episode:

May 23, 2001: Apple seems surprised by the popularity of its combo drive iBooks, but adapts commendably. Meanwhile, pundits are pondering the possibility of an Apple buyout of either Palm or Handspring, and Apple finally gets the GeForce3 out the door-- while the whole "Mac first" plan went out the window...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 3067: "Now Batting For CD-RW..." (5/23/01)   One of the problems with the way in which Apple chooses to introduce its products (i.e. developing them entirely in secret using a neverending stream of disposable laborers who are shot after they drop so as not to compromise security, then springing the results on an unsuspecting public at major press events and trade shows) is that the company can't very well just ask the public what it wants...

  • 3069: Well, So Much For Gloating (5/23/01)   Gamers take heed: according to MacNN (and an Apple Store customer's shipping confirmation), Apple is finally shipping Macs ordered with that drool-inducing, polygon-pushing nVIDIA GeForce3 that Steve first announced amid much fanfare last February in Tokyo...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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