Apple should buy Nintendo instead of Palm

by Todd Ogasawara

There's been a number of rumors that Apple will buy Palm (the hardware manufacturer, not the OS licensor owned by Japan's Access). But, here's a wild alternative idea: Apple should buy Nintendo instead...


2006-02-13 02:10:03
Ever since Nintendo's Revolution launch and the iPod's success (circa 2002-2003), this suggestion comes up in prominent places on a bi-annual basis despite the fact that it makes little sense. Business acquisitions must ultimately return shareholder value, if not expand marketshare and/or profits for the buying company. Apple & Nintendo may share common qualities with a keen focus on accessbility, simplicity, and aesthetics, but the businesses are offer each no real advantages short of broad similarities adn your bullet points highlight that fact plainly.

Apple has nothing to offer Nintendo in terms of game development or hardware development; Apple simply strikes deals with hardware manufacturers much in the same way Nintendo does to fit their respective hardware designs. Nor does Nintendo have anything to offer Apple -- their focus is exclusively on games as has been repeatedly shown by their consoles' designs (with the sole exception of the Panasonic Q, a GameCube/DVD player hybrid that never saw light outside of Japan). Nintendo games on the Mac platform would offer little to entice new users and offer little return to Nintendo themselves. Moreover, there's no indication that Nintendo is even for sale, as their blatant rejection of Microsoft's bids prior to the original Xbox's release indicated. There's just nothing here worth pursuing, short of saddling both companies with more middle managers and splitting profits.

Palm, on the other hand, offers Apple the ability to tie the devices into their profitable Mac computers and ties in neatly with their focus on syncing, hardware design, and on the lucrative high-end markets that many businesses play into. While I haven't been following the Palm news, Palm is certainly a much better business acquisition for Apple and for shareholders of both companies. It also provides a little more juice to rumor sites over Apple's touch-screen patents.

2006-02-13 03:02:13
There is no synergy whatsoever. Nintendo is an also-ran company which is getting killed by Sony and Microsoft. The last thing Apple needs to do is waste its cash reserves, put itself into debt, and diffuse its management team, to pick up a troubled game company.
Magnus Nystedt
2006-02-13 04:11:51
Tongue in cheek perhaps, but I also fail to see why Apple would be interested in Nintendo. Palm would make more sense but even that I cannot really see happening. You could argue that Apple should buy Palm to get into PDAs again but personally I think if Apple would want to get into PDAs again (and it's questionable if they should) they could do a better job on their own and don't need any Palm technology or know-how. Apple seem to be pretty okay at developing technology themselves so they don't need that. What they do need is content - music and video for the iTMS. The Disney deal provides them with that but I think there's much more for Apple to do in that sphere rather than in hw/sw.

2006-02-13 05:38:22
Sabine, you're talking out of your ass. Nintedo is doing great, making gobs of money while MS and Sony are at each others throats, competing on who can lose more money per manufactured console. While the Revolution will certainly not be the best-selling next generation console, it will be insanely profitable, much like the DS is right now.

Check out for starters.

2006-02-13 06:18:24
There is nothing sexy about Nintendo...won't happen
2006-02-13 07:24:27
Never going to happen.
2006-02-13 09:39:13
Not to be rude but you don't really know Nintendo, do you? Nintendo has basically vowed to continue as an independent until the Sun goes supernova. The equivilient would be if Harley Davidson sold out to Honda or if the French sold the Eiffel Tower to Germany - it is possible but the odds are so remote - check back in 100 years. You really ought to learn about companies - particularly Japanese companies who unlike US companies might compete vigouriously against someone but sell out in heartbeat - in Japan, it's vastly different. You might as well suggest Apple buy Johnson & Johnson or ExxonMobil. Anything is possible but basically you've just filled up some space without really sayibng anything.
2006-02-13 09:43:37
this is old news that has been ruminated on for YEARS

Brant Sears
2006-02-13 09:52:48
Worst... idea... ever!
2006-02-13 09:57:49
"Nintendo's home-bound console is a distant trailer in total market share"

WTF? Maybe in the USA, but not everywhere. Worldwide GameCube and Xbox have about the same market share.

And while Nintendo and Apple share a few philosophies (like intuitive software design), there are also lots of differences. For example the attidude about performance: Nintendo doesn't care. They say game design is more important (and I agree). Apple's hardware is always at least "twice as fast".
Apple is also now using Intel CPUs. Nintendo uses PPC CPUs. There was a rumor that Apple would use the Revolution CPU for its next gen notebook, but now it's too late. Apple's notebooks can't profit from the CPU quanities Nintendo orders from IBM.
Nintendo's hardware is also quite cheap. While Apple's not so cheap (also not as expensive as some people say), because Apple is making profits from the hardware.

And last, but not least: Nintendo won't sell out. MS tried a few years ago and failed.

2006-02-13 11:37:40
Apple buying Nintendo, to what end?

MS buying Nntendo, to Nintendo's end.

Todd Ogasawara
2006-02-13 12:18:55
Dudes... You really need to get a sense of humor and learn the meaning of "tongue in cheek" :-)

2006-02-13 13:53:42
I just think it would be interesting to see Apple enter the gaming business, though I doubt they could afford to go up against Microsoft and Sony and continue in the computer market. At any rate, Nintendo has nearly as much cash in the bank as Apple. They're a similarly sized company.
Hisham Muhammad Yusof
2006-02-13 19:10:45
Hi everyone. Most of the posts I've read are talking about how Apple buying Nintendo is bad idea. And I have to agree that I don't see any compelling reason for Apple to buy Nintendo. But on the other hand, I haven't seen any compelling reason for Apple to but Palm either.

I mean, what does Palm have to offer Apple?

Software? Don't think so; Apple's software engineers are better at making things intuitive than anyone else in the industry.

Hardware? Please... is anybody here going to argue that Apple's creative industrial designers who dreamed up the iPod and iMacs can't come up with a better form factor?

Market share & industry knowledge? I don't think market share is at the top of Apple's concerns, and you can always hire industry experts.

Don't get me wrong, I love Apple, and I love Palm (especially the Treo). And I would like nothing better than to be able to buy a laptop and a phone/PDA from the same maker. But let's look at what happens if Apple buys Palm: Apple will suddenly have all these Windows users to support. I can't imagine that sitting well with Steve Jobs. I mean, creating a Windows user base of iTunes, iPods, and QuickTime is one thing; inheriting legions of Windows-using Palm users for an handheld OS that Apple did not create seems like too much trouble.

I seriously don't think Apple will ever buy a company like Palm. Coz if they did, everyone will be able to predict with near 100% accuracy that they'll come out with a PDA or a PDA/phone. I mean, well all know that Apple likes to be secretive about it's upcoming products; if they bought a company like Palm they might as well just make a website with details of their product maps for the next 5 years. And of course, this argument works against Nintendo as well. They might buy a software company so that they can absorb it into OS X or new hardware, or they might but a hardware component company, but I doubt they'd find any real reason to buy a finished goods hardware company.

More likely they might partner with Palm (or maybe even Nintendo). That seems more Apple's style. But with a PDA or a phone, I don't see why Apple would need to partner with anyone. I think a partnership with Nintendo (even if it makes bizarre sense) would be better compared to Palm (if I had to choose between the two); I mean how many people have complained about games on Macs?

And for all the negative comments about Nintendo, let's be honest that Nintendo IS making money.... they're not losing any money for every unit of their console that they sell. Yes, their market share is dwindling (for now coz we don't know what will happen when the Revolution comes out) but at least they're not losing money. You have to appreciate that at least. And let's be fair and not compare Nintendo with Sony or Microsoft; yes they all make consoles & games, but it's fair to say that Nintendo has a different strategy and is going after different types of gamers; a strategy which is not unlike Apple's. I mean, it's unfair to compare Apple & Microsoft as OS companies coz Apple makes both the hardware & software but Microsoft only makes the software. You can argue that Microsoft has the market share lead, but you can't deny that Apple is successful too. Same goes with Nintendo in the console business.

So at the end of the day, Apple buying either Palm or Nintendo is just plain wrong for it's strategy, especially Palm. If I was on Apple's board and I was forced at gunpoint to pick one of these two companies to buy, I'd go with Nintendo. Why? Coz they dare to be innovative (look at the DS & the Revolution controller). Nintendo dares to care about gameplay & user experience & making their products accessible to people who would not likely pick up a console (think grandparents, etc). User experience & making products accessible? Isn't that at the core of what Apple does with their products?

2006-02-13 21:37:59
Apple buying Palm is a mistake. Apple buying Nintendo would be good for Apple (kind of) and really pointless for Nintendo. I'm kind of tired of people ringing the death knell for Nintendo every console generation. Ever since the Virtual Boy (and the N64 which was slightly embarassing), people keep counting Nintendo out, like Sony's (ill-gotten) dominance over the industry necessarily implies Nintendo's imminent demise.

Nintendo is profitable. Nintendo has a stranglehold on the portable gaming market (and the PSP is not going to change that fact). Nintendo makes money on their home consoles and always has (with the possible exception of the Virtual Boy which can hardly be called a console really). They don't dominate the industry, but neither does Apple. Who else is tired of people predicting the demise of Apple?

And no, I didn't take the article seriously. I smiled while reading it.

2006-02-14 00:21:25
Would it be advisable for Apple to buy any company of this size? It seems to me that Apple is so much about a specific culture that any add-on purchase would run the risk of generating so much trouble in the merging process and consequently diluting that crucial culture so much that it would negate any advantages that the purchase would have (compared to developing the technology in question in-house). Unless maybe you’d be prepared to just take the assets of the company in question and ditch the people.

Even when NeXT, arguably a chip off the same block, took over was bought by Apple there was considerable friction. I feel it difficult to imagine any company that would be worth the risk for Apple to buy (excepting small ones with a few people).

So my answer to the question of “Nintendo or Palm” would be “neither”.

2006-02-15 18:22:15
A device that integrates the best of iPod and Gameboy?
The ability to buy games for the DS and future Gameboys via the iTunes store?
A future media hub Mac mini from Apple that also plays Miyamoto-designed games?

Interesting possibilites. Extremely unlikely, but interesting nonetheless.

2006-03-12 16:29:38
You do realize Nintendo makes FAR more money than Apple does right?
Maybe Nintendo should buy Apple?
Todd Ogasawara
2006-03-12 18:10:38
BlueFluke: Regarding You do realize Nintendo makes FAR more money than Apple does right?. You need to check your facts. For example, Apple posted a net profit of $565 million for Q4 2005. Nintendo made around $150 million in a quarter. Their FY2005 first half showed profits down 21%. Despite their great DS sales, their overall financial picture doesn't look too healthy.
Sam holmes
2006-05-22 14:30:49
Apple should buy Nintendo because Apple computer need support for the WIFI conection
2006-05-22 18:58:17
Apple can not afford to purchase Nintendo, but Nintedo can purchase Apple.

But neither of these companies need each other, since Nintendo is the largest profitable gaming company, and Apple is number one in digital music and its computer side is growing.

Don't post bullshit "what if" questions, as they as a waste of space and google search times

2006-06-10 15:07:59
um... how does showing similarities indicate a purchase?
2006-06-10 15:23:20
nevermind, it's a "what-if"


2006-06-15 10:57:46
This was fun to read; Thank you for letting me day dream. While I was day dreaming, something came to mind. Remember when we all thought it would be cool if Nintendo bought Sega (or vice versa) so we could play Sonic on our Nintendo System? Remember when people said that would never happen? Well, I know Nintendo didn't buy Sega out or vice versa, but we are playing Sonic on Nintendo systems. Apple and Nintendo - it's fun to day dream. :)