I’m not the first to speculate on a tech giant buying car company. Car companies are cheap today. You could snatch up all of the big three for under $60B. If you’re Apple, you might still have a few hundred billion dollars to spare after that.
But why? The first is data. One thing that the president of Ford, Jim Hackett, alluded to in last week’s podcast of Freakonomics was how much data Ford has. One source is that Ford is one of the largest lenders of auto loans and knows the address, work, income, age, etc of tens of millions of people. And with 150,000,000 vehicles on the road, many with data collection capabilities, that’s a lot of information to mine.
The second reason to buy a car company is to for the IP. Car companies generate a lot of patents. Maybe these patents could be combined with others.
The third reason is competition — to shut out the other players from getting their own fleets.
With Apple and Google pouring so much into self driving technology, it will need to bubble over into a revenue generated application at some point. Amazon could also use a car maker to create its own 24/7 delivery fleet.