What if Apple bought Sony?

what if apple bought sonyThe financial powerhouse Barron’s recently issued a report suggesting that Apple was looking at taking over Sony. From company culture clashes, to the complexity that Sony would represent given Steve Jobs’ massive focus on simplicity, I really doubt he’d want to do this. In fact, it’s only a thread of a rumor and there’s a ninety-nine percent chance it will never happen. But let’s put aside whether he would or not, because stranger things have happened. Who would have thought Palm or Compaq would end up as part of HP, that Apple would build a product like the iPod before they did it, or that Darth Vader would actually be Luke Skywalker’s father?

I bring up this last past because Sony, in a way, was the illegitimate father of the new Apple, because Steve admired Sony so much in the early years. I doubt, back then, he even imagined that his company would grow to eclipse this aging giant. But setting aside whether this is likely, what would Steve do to Sony, and why shouldn’t Sony do this to themselves anyway?

Deconstructing Apple

One of the first things Steve Jobs did when taking over Apple was eliminate most of the complexity. He got rid of most of the accessories, like digital cameras and printers, eliminated the Newton, killed off their corporate products, eliminated their clone efforts, and took the company back to basics. This was because the company had become an unmanageable mess, and he needed to take it back to its roots in order to grow a better company. This approach was pretty unique; most folks would have stepped into the CEO role and tried to patch things up. Had Steve done that instead, we likely would be talking about Apple in the past tense, and not the most successful company in the tech market at the moment.

what if apple bought sony newton camera
Steve Jobs eliminated Apple’s Newton and their line of digital cameras

Deconstructing Sony

Where do you even start picking apart this 64-year-old electronics goliath? Steve would likely start from where he thinks the company’s Sony’s core is, which is TVs, stereos, and game systems. He’d probably try to sell the movie business to Disney, and find a buyer for the professional cameras and content creation, or shut it down. Since he isn’t a fan of gaming, and the PSP competes with the iPod, he’d likely shut this down as well, because spinning it out might create future problems. However he might take the content side of this and retain it for iPads, iPhones, and iPod Touch products, which could turn the shutdown into more of a migration. He’d dramatically simplify the TV and stereo lines while eliminating any work on phones that competed with the iPhone. He would likely eliminate Blu-ray, because after some initial support, he now sees it as a train wreck and has lost faith.

He would then enhance Sony’s TV and stereo lines to make them work seamlessly with iTunes and Apple MP3 players. He’d immediately kill, however, the work with Google on Google TV, both because it competes with AppleTV and he doesn’t like Google very much.

what if apple bought sony products
Sony product timeline, courtesy of Gizmodo

Here is the big question: Would he retain the Sony brand? It is one of the most powerful in the industry, but Steve likes simplicity and would likely be annoyed by a product called the Apple Sony HDTV. My guess is that he wouldn’t, and would migrate the Sony brand to Apple over time.

Dealing with culture issues might be difficult, but Jobs has one major rule and that is there is only one boss, and that is Jobs. Japanese business culture can actually align with this, and after being cut to the bone and cross pollinated with a lot of Apple executives, I doubt if much Sony-only culture would remain. Steve has no trouble firing people, and his fear-based management style could actually be very successful in what was left of Sony. Disputes aren’t uncommon in Apple, but if they damage execution Jobs has no sense of humor and would eliminate those he thought were the problem. A couple of examples and the remaining Sony employees would likely toe the Steve Jobs line.

An Apple-Sony Merger: Potentially cool, but very unlikely

The end result of Steve’s pruning would be a much smaller Sony, more similar to the way it was in the ‘60s than today. But he would have a solid foundation from which to build a new media powerhouse, and the end result, after five to 10 years, could eclipse the reach and scope of the current Apple significantly, and maybe even firms like GE and Samsung.

So why doesn’t Sony just do this?

Because making a company vastly smaller only to rebuild later it dramatically cuts short term revenues and profits. Steve Jobs could weather this, but no other CEO likely could, which is why most would rather patch an leaky ship than rebuild it from scratch. It may be somewhat ironic that the only person who could turn Sony into a company that could again challenge Apple is Steve Jobs, and worse; that as obvious as that path to success is, Sony can’t take it without him.

The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not reflect the beliefs of Digital Trends.

Home Theater

The best TVs of CES 2019, from 8K to 219-inch Micro LEDs to roll-up OLEDs

We pounded 16 miles of CES 2019 show floor, carefully considered each TV from every major manufacturer, and have compiled the best into this one handy guide, with plenty of pictures and links to our videos diving deep into each model.
Home Theater

Banish the bunny ears (and monthly bills) with these excellent HD antennas

When transitioning away from cable and satellite, finding the best HDTV antenna for your area can be touch. To help, we've compiled our picks of the best indoor HDTV antennas you can buy.
Home Theater

QLED and OLED may have similar names, but they're totally different technologies

The names may look almost identical, but OLED and QLED are two entirely different beasts. In our QLED vs. OLED battle, we dissect the differences between these dueling TV technologies, and help determine which might be best for you.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘Norsemen’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.

Has Apple’s AirPower charging mat finally entered production?

Apple's AirPower wireless charging mat, initially expected to be released in early 2018, has reportedly finally entered production. Two different Apple suppliers are said to be involved in the manufacturing of the device.

Apple AirPods may be used to spy on conversations, but please don’t

Apple added Live Listen to the AirPods through the iOS 12 update last September, to help users with minor hearing issues. However, a viral tweet is suggesting that the feature may be used to eavesdrop on the conversations of other people.

Rumors say Apple's AirPower wireless charger may finally be in production

At its September event in 2018, Apple unveiled the AirPower, a new wireless charging mat that will allow you to charge multiple devices at one time. It has not yet been released. Here's everything we know about the device so far.

Is your smartphone frozen? Here's how to reset your iPhone

You can do a lot with an iPhone, but if you ever run into an issue with it, the first thing you should do is restart it. In this guide, we tell you how to reset your iPhone, and explain how it differs from a factory reset.

Keep up-to-date with the best news apps on iPhone and Android

Are the days of traditional newspapers and broadcast news dwindling? With apps this good, maybe. Catch up on the latest headlines on any platform with the best news apps on iOS and Android.

Looking to upgrade? These are the best iPhone deals for January 2019

Apple devices can get expensive, but if you just can't live without iOS, don't despair: We've curated an up-to-date list of all of the absolute best iPhone deals available for January 2019.

From Air to Pro, here are the best MacBook deals for January 2019

If you’re in the market for a new Apple laptop, let us make your work a little easier: We hunted down the best up-to-date MacBook deals available online right now from various retailers.

Style up your MacBook Air with one of these great cases or sleeves

Whether you’re looking for added protection or a stylish flourish, you’re in the right place for the best MacBook Air cases. We have form-hugging cases, luxurious covers and padded sleeves priced from $10 to $130. Happy shopping!

Beam up the videos: AirPlay support is coming to VLC player

At CES 2019, the developers of VLC player announced they are adding support for Apple's Airplay feature, allowing consumers to beam video and other content from their iPhone and Android devices to an Apple TV. 

If you're looking for a good laugh, here are 70 questions to ask Siri

Siri has come a long way since her first appearance on the iPhone 4S in 2011. We know she can make appointments and give directions, did you know she can make you laugh too? If you want proof, here are lots of funny questions to ask Siri.