Apple Buying Sony: Not Likely

Rumors that Apple may be buying Sony spread like wildfire Tuesday morning following speculation on what the Mac and iPhone maker could potentially spend its US$51 billion nest egg on. While purchasing Sony doesn’t exactly make sense for Apple, that didn’t stop Sony’s stock from climbing once the rumor hit the Web.

The rumor grew from a Barron’s article speculating that Apple has enough cash on hand to buy Disney, Adobe, or even Sony. Apple CEO Steve Jobs may have unintentionally helped fuel the Sony buyout rumor during his company’s fourth quarter earnings conference call when he said “We strongly believe that one or more very strategic opportunities may come along, that we can take, that we’re in a unique position to take advantage of because of our strong cash position.”

Apple buying Sony? Um, no.

The idea that Apple wants Sony’s gaming business gained steam once the buyout rumor took off, as did the notion that Apple wants its own branded TVs, chip fabrication, and other non-computer electronics.

The likelihood that Apple is seriously considering buying Sony, however, seems a bit far fetched. Apple’s acquisitions tend to focus on specific technologies, and there isn’t any clear indication as to how buying Sony would promote sales of current or planned Apple products and services.

For its part, Sony isn’t likely to agree to an Apple buyout, either.

Unless Apple and Sony drop a surprise buyout announcement, this rumor looks like just speculation taken out of context.