Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Apple Buys Snap | Lefsetz Letter

Finally! After giving that cash hoard back to stockholders, the Cupertino Company has decided to invest in itself. Just like Facebook bought Instagram, Apple is now acquiring Snap. Of course it should have purchased Netflix, but contrary to Steve Jobs’s mantra, if it wasn’t invented in Apple Park, they’re not interested, especially after the Beats fiasco, where Jimmy Iovine pulled the wool over the eyes of the company, selling them a flawed product with few users that had to be completely overhauled to become functional. An offloading of crap this stinky hadn’t been seen since Evolution sold Palm and its OS to HP, which not long thereafter shut it down, writing it all off.

But Tim Cook is being hassled. Especially after last week’s meh presentation. All anybody can ask is how much does their TV channel cost? And how can it compete with Netflix, never mind Amazon and Disney. It’s a conundrum. Jobs believed in thinning the product line as to not confuse consumers and loading up thousands of songs and photos on iPhones whereas Cook keeps broadening the product line, confusing customers, and creating a TV channel with very little product. And after getting beaten by Iovine, et al, they should know better than to get involved in Hollywood, where the most successful independent studio, i.e. Carolco, went bankrupt, because it’s all about catalog/library, and Tinseltown has ripped-off investors from time immemorial. DISTRIBUTION not PRODUCTION! Distribution is king, why are they making programs? They’re not buying record labels because they know this would piss off the industry, why get involved with these creative charlatans?

But that’s Silicon Valley for you, especially Apple, they think they know better.

So this is a sudden move. Especially now that Snap is cheap because of its stalled growth, caused as a result of Instagram’s me-tooism.

But with so little on the market, as tech consolidation continues, Apple didn’t want to be left out of the game of musical chairs. As for building a social network itself, can you say PING? Look, even Google couldn’t compete with Facebook, it was not in their skill set and Zuck’s company had too much momentum. You buy market share.

And the cost to Apple for Snap is a drop in the bucket.

But Snap has advantages, most notably privacy. Facebook gets beaten up in the press seemingly daily, Snap is more controlled. Without advertising clutter. Sure, Cook famously said that Apple would not trade on its customers’ information, but he’ll weasel out of that by saying Snap is a separate company.

However, the truly big news is that Evan Spiegel will have a dual role. Just like Jobs before him, with Pixar and Apple. Not only will Spiegel run Snap, he will also become Cook’s number two, his visionary. No, it’s not far-fetched, it’s brilliant, because Spiegel employs the same reality distortion field as Mr. Jobs. Spiegel keeps testifying as to Snap’s assets and future when the facts point to the opposite. Come on, talk about snookering the public!

But, like Oprah Winfrey said, with Snap now in a billion pockets with Apple, it’s gonna go gangbusters. People trust their information with Apple. So, this will be the social network people cling to, especially the oldsters who make up the majority of track purchasers at the iTunes Store. They may not know how to use Snapchat, but infatuated with being hip, they’ll do their best to figure it out. There will be no phone support, but if you go to the Genius Bar, you’ll be able to get help. Actually, this is why Angela Ahrendts got pushed out of Apple retail. She argued for putting high fashion and makeup in Apple Stores, utilizing her expertise from her stint at Burberry, she’d even lined up an exclusive with Kylie Jenner. But Eddy Cue shut her down, saying it’s best to sell air, there’s no inventory, only upside, physical objects don’t scale the same way.

You see it’s all about apps and software and Apple has little ability to monetize its air, especially now that operating system software is free. So, expect a ton of potential upgrades to Snapchat. You’ll be able to get virtual Hermes outfits. And Kanye is going to deliver virtual shoes. Apple decided to get the genius on board. The announcement of Kanye’s deal was supposed to be announced at Coachella, during his Sunday Service, but the news was leaked on WeChat of all places, but supposedly Cook is still set to helicopter in.

But what will seal the deal is the inclusion of Trump. That’s right, with a gift of stock, Apple has convinced the President to give up Twitter and make Snapchat his sole social network. Brilliant idea if I do say so myself. Best to have his snaps disappear, before they can be analyzed, and few remember what he said anyway. And yes, Ivanka and Jared will get stock too, they’ve got the same deal. But Eric and Don Jr. are being left out, because they almost got their dad nailed in Russiagate. But Tiffany is gung-ho. And they’re finally bringing Barron Trump into the spotlight. He’s the key to driving adoption by the younger demo. You see you don’t have to be a certain age to play on the new Snapchat. It’ll be safe for all ages. And if there’s any trouble, well, with the Trump deal Apple’s connected.

And just to be safe, they’ve contracted with Elizabeth Warren too. Shutting her up and adding to her campaign chest in one quick stroke. That’s right, the senator has been behind in fundraising. Now she’s got deep pockets. And, she can’t complain about corporations.

So what’s next, that’s the question.

Apple has pivoted, from hardware to software.

And the vision problem has been solved. If you can’t develop it, you buy it. Hell, Jobs bought SoundJam so he could build iTunes.

And news is the music of today, and the new News app puts Apple squarely in the center of the discussion.

But they need to buy more. Netflix is too big to be bought, maybe they’ll scoop up Hulu, that would give them a steady stream of product to launch their TV service upon.

So Apple lovers can finally breathe easy. The messiah has come. Evan Spiegel is going to jet Apple into the stratosphere. And Miranda Kerr will appear in new commercials, thus garnering the vapid vote of teenage girls addicted to fashion and makeup.

As for Apple haters… This is a way to voice your disgust with Facebook. But, Facebook still has its killer app, i.e. WhatsApp, even though no one in the media seems to be aware of this.

A deal this important hasn’t occurred since AOL bought Time Warner.

Get excited. A safe way of wasting time is coming to your handset. You’ll be able to boast to friends and have plausible deniability when your pictures disappear. There’ll be no bread crumbs to ruin future employment. And when Apple buys IAC and adds dating… Whew, think of the possibilities!

It’s gonna happen. As soon as Barry Diller acquires Grindr. Then he’ll deliver Cook the whole package.

It’s all about people. This is an end run around the rest of the tech behemoths. A stealth move. Apple is about to own social networking. Zuckerberg and his lame Facebook will turn to dust. It’s Apple’s world and we just live in it.


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