Monday, 13 February 2017

Did Nikon Just Make Itself An Apple Acquisition Target?


Looks like Nikon had a particularly bad time of it in 2016 and yesterday it broke news of its plans to adapt its business for 2017. Out go employees - around 1,000 of them and into the bin go its plans for a new range of premium compacts.

Financially the year ending in March looks to be a pretty poor one for the company's shareholders. Its P/E ratio is close to its 12 month low suggesting this might be a good time for someone looking to acquire optical and image processing know how and patents. Someone sitting on a large pile of cash and being criticised by shareholders for failing to work it hard enough.

Someone like Apple for example.

The iPhone has almost single-handedly demolished the compact camera market and seriously impacted businesses like Nikon. It is the most popular camera on a whole range of social media websites. It is the ultimate expression of the old adage 'the best camera is the one you have with you' and with the iPhone 7 and 7+ Apple has shown that it is serious about improving the quality of the camera you have with you.

Apple benefits from this acquisition by giving itself another outlet for sales to existing iPhone owners and add-on sales to new iPhone buyers. Think about something like the Sony QX10 lens camera, which added serious photography chops to a smartphone, even if the implementation was (typically for modern day Sony) flawed.

Now imagine that same concept engineered by Apple, utilising Nikon camera know-how, specifically designed for the iPhone and leveraging proprietry communications to resolve the Sony's main problem areas. With Apple's marketing chops and customer loyalty it could easily drive a new, multi-billion dollar product line for Apple.

Just because the camera you have with you is the best you have, it doesn't mean the camera you have with you shouldn't be the best it can be. There's an opportunity here, if Apple is sharp and ready to roll the dice.

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