Hey Apple, Buy App.net. Love, Brad

Following my thoughts that Twitter should buy Kik to bolster their pre-IPO offerings, I figured I’d swing for the fences on another acquisition.

Who should Apple really buy? Dropbox — like yesterday. Unfortunately, I don’t think Tim Cook et al. will make a purchase like that and admit their cloud services are a mess. It’s no secret Apple has lost some of their mojo since the passing of Steve Jobs. But I think they’ve also grown their own set of issues when they built the simplest phone OS to use.

As an Android user, I often find solving the simplest tasks on an iPhone take a lot more steps. I can always figure things out and I’d never think of switching my parents off the ecosystem but it’s simplicity is restrictive.

Apple, you’re still cool but unless you get a little Eddie Haskell in you your user base is going to get older and less tech savvy with each passing hardware iteration.

It’s also pretty obvious Apple’s master plan is to merge the desktop and mobile interfaces, an awesome plan; I’m excited to see Johnny Ive go to work. But you know who else’s fingers Apple should have working on the future of their OS? Dalton Caldwell.

A side benefit (before getting into a social backbone) is that Caldwell has experience and passion for streaming music. With iTunes turning 10 anyone can tell you that it’s business model must adapt. Music is an enormous part of Apple’s identity and putting a player like Dalton on your staff could do wonders in re-imagining iTunes.

Going even further off topic let’s recognize that Dropbox has acquired a publishing/ad company (TapEngage), a streaming music company (AudioGalaxy), and the hottest e-mail app out there (Mailbox), all which would fit oh so nicely into Apple’s arsenal. But Apple won’t buy them because their valuation would be insane, they need a more under the radar company.

Back to Caldwell and company. To emphasize why Apple needs App.Net (beside the cool domain connection) I’m going to point to their greatest frenemy, Google. Have you been on Google+ recently? Me neither, but if you use Google services they’re collecting all sorts of information about your behavior. A lot was written about Google+ being the future of Google: wrong!

The future of Google is Google Now and if you haven’t experienced it yet just wait. The future of search (and Google) is not even searching. So why does Google+ matter? Because it’s a big data dump, and by just using it a little Google gains an enormous amount of insight. Apple on the other hand has… Ping?

Apple doesn’t have a social backbone the way their competitors do (ignore Microsoft because Facebook is going to buy Xbox and then it’s over for MSFT). In fact Apple’s web presence is paltry at best. Think Different has yet to make an dent on the web, but you know who is thinking differently? Dalton Caldwell and the folks at App.Net.

App.Net’s philosophy fits Apple really well: pay to play. A quite sensible strategy for Apple would be to waive subscription fees for owners of Apple hardware. Outsiders who still want to play in Apple’s private social garden can still join in the fun, for a fee. Just think of what Apple would get!

Social identity? Yup, that’s App.net. Full fledged email sans ads a la GMail? Oh yeah, App.Net can fascilitate that (insert jab at MSFT’s lame Scroogled campaign). Cloud storage? App.net is doing that. Want to rebuild Ping the way Spotify works? Gosh, that couldn’t be easier using App.net. Share photos like Instagram? You guessed it! Tim Cook! Are you listening! App.Net is your solution for cloud services!

More broadly this is your strategy for the future Apple. “Apple and App.Net, making the social web troll free since 2013-” AKA please, please, please take my money. I want to be a part of the web that’s working for me not advertisers!

I’ve made my points, good points, maybe even great points. Now it’s time for Apple to do something because as fun as an iWatch will be, I’m not buying it. Sprinkle a little Think Different on the web and add your size and scale and I will throw my money at you, as will a lot of other loyal customers. Happy Wednesday and good luck in 2013.

Originally posted 17 April 2013