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Apple takeover a possibility

The impending $68 million loss reported by Apple Computer makes the company a possible hostile takeover target.

Fresh rumors of a possible takeover attempt are surfacing in the aftermath of yesterday's announcement from Apple Computer officials that the company expects to post a $68 million loss for the first quarter.

Both Sony and IBM are considered possible candidates for a takeover attempt, said sources. Late last year, IBM allegedly offered Apple officials $40 per share for the Cupertino, California, company, but the bid was rejected and no counteroffer was made, according to one widespread industry tale. An acquisition by IBM would give the company fresh ammunition against Microsoft, said sources.

One thing is clear: the loss will put Apple in a tough situation. "They're clearly down to the point where a hostile takeover would be a possibility. Anyone taking over could be seen as a saving grace, which was not the case in the Lotus situation," commented Rob Enderle, analyst with Giga, a market research and consulting company in San Jose, California.

If Sony is interested in acquiring Apple, it's probably the company's well-known brand name that is most alluring to the electronics giant, said Enderle. Sony might also be interested in grafting the Apple look and feel on top of its own PC systems, which are due out next fall. An acquisition would give Sony the rights to the Apple operating system code, said Enderle. "You have to get the rights to the code, and Apple sure isn't going to license it," he added.