Since we’ve called Facebook out on their B.S. valuation, we should be nice and point out that the stock seems to have stabilized at $28 per share or so, meaning the larger stock market thinks it’s worth about $60 billion. That’s a lot of money. Of course, Apple is worth $500 billion or so on any given day, which is even more money, so buying Facebook would be a simple process, right?
Well, no, actually. And despite what many, probably desperate owners of Facebook stock, would like to believe, it’s probably not in the cards. Here’s why: most of the “evidence” Apple is thinking about this comes from Tim Cook’s comments at the D10 Conference:
“We have great respect for them. I think we can do more with them. Just stay tuned on this one.”
The nice thing about quotes like this is that they’re meaningless. Cook can announce at the upcoming Worldwide Developer’s Conference (that’s the iPhone press conference to you) that Apple is storming Facebook to ravish it like a barbarian at a Roman brothel, or he can announce the iPhone has a neat little Facebook app, or anything in between, and he won’t be accused of raising expectations.
Secondly, Apple has shown less and less interest in software over the years, much to the chagrin of true believers. The Final Cut Pro X debacle is a good example of how little Apple gives a crap about code now that selling hardware has made them one of the biggest companies in the world.
Thirdly, if Apple tried to buy Facebook, pretty much everybody from the Justice Department on down would go ballistic. Apple already has access to a lot of your information, and Facebook has access to even more of it. Google would face the same problems, to some degree, but Apple would have to demonstrate that by buying Facebook, it wouldn’t, say, lock Spotify out.
Finally, there’s the simple fact that Facebook just lost $40 freaking billion in value in an extremely short period of time. As a rule, you wait for the price to settle — there’s no sense in offering offensive amounts of money for a company when you can buy it for less offensive amounts of money.
Will somebody try to buy Facebook, and soon? Probably. But it’s not going to be Apple. It’s going to be some private equity firm only financial nerds care about, and it’ll be much uglier than any tech deal. In fact, the first attempt to buy Facebook is probably going to resemble less a match made in tech heaven, more of a Craigslist attempt to sell a used Corolla for parts.
Keep in mind Facebook has recently transacted a sale of the company to a group of people, stock investors, who have the mindset and financial appetite of wolves and a dim-at-best understanding of how the Internet works. Facebook has not made them instantly richer, so they’re going to look for a way to make it make them instantly richer. It doesn’t matter if it ruins the company and the product — they don’t care. To them “Internet” is just a product like “toilet paper” or “cocaine.” You offend the consumer, so what? What’s he gonna do, find a new one?
That’s really the problem: Facebook now has to fight pressure from within to become even more evil and awful than it already is. The stock seems to have stabilized, but it’s too late: the wolf has been let in the front door, and sooner or later, he’s going to get hungry.