After Apple CEO Steve Jobs' stunning resignation on Wednesday, attention turned to new CEO Tim Cook and how the company might change under new leadership.
Cook told employees that Apple won't change from Jobs' vision -- something to insure continued employee and investor confidence in the company. But it would actually make sense for Cook to shift from Jobs' strategy a bit and spend some of that close to $80 billion in cash on hand.
Although Apple is unlikely to make a bid, Cook could make a bold, yet wise, first statement by purchasing Hulu.
Hulu has put itself up for auction for $2 billion, leading major companies to place bids. Yahoo, Google, Amazon, and DirecTV have all been rumored to have placed bids, which were initially due on Wednesday, but Hulu decided to leave the auction open for a few more days leaving a major power -- like Apple -- to jump into the fray.
Hulu has struggled with profitability, according to The Wrap, while the new Apple executive is known for increasing profit margins. It might not sound like a perfect marriage, but it'd actually make a lot of sense for Apple to acquire Hulu.
The main reason is Apple's big three of the iPhone, iPad, and Mac computers could all greatly benefit from a deal with Hulu. It'd allow for exclusive streaming content, through iTunes and Apple TV, making it possible to even better its recent impressive earnings numbers.
The company's had a lot of success with its iTunes platform, selling large quantities of music, movies and television shows. It's been on top of the music distribution market, but its television and movie offerings don't quite compare to what Hulu could bring in.
Hulu, owned by the Walt Disney Co., News Corp. and NBC, is guaranteed to have a steady stream of popular television shows at its disposal. It has a large library of shows that make it an extremely desirable property -- plus it can upload shows quicker for the consumer than any other competitor. Additionally its Hulu Plus, which offers more episodes than the free service and limited commercials, already, has close to a million subscribers.
As the Apple base of customers continues to grow with each new purchase of an iPad or iPhone, why wouldn't the company try to become a one-stop show for all customer needs?
The company has scorched the Earth with virtually everything it's done in the past few years aside from a television streaming service. It has invested a substantial amount in AppleTV, but hasn't had the content to make it a true success.
With Hulu it could take yet another step to complete dominance of the market.
Apple sniffed around Hulu in the past though no formal bid appears to be made. Although Jobs likely will continue to play a major role at the company as chairman, Cook could show some flair by acquiring a company handmade for the Apple ecosystem.
Is Hulu worth a $2 billion asking price? Probably not, but the value it adds long-term to the Apple brand certainly could be worth that.
Apple has an absolutely incredible content distribution in place. Now, it just needs the content. That's what Hulu can deliver.
Will Cook likely place a bid on Hulu in the last few hours of bidding? Probably not.
But that one bold strike could erase all investor doubt in the company's new post-Steve Jobs era.