A Nationwide Wireless Apple Network? That’s About as Likely as Intel-Based Macs … Oh, Wait.
It might sound far-fetched, but Apple is reportedly considering bidding in the Federal Communications Commission’s upcoming auction of the 700 MHz wireless spectrum. Citing two anonymous sources, BusinessWeek reports that Cupertino has “studied the implications of joining the spectrum auction,” which is expected to fetch a high bid of $9 billion.
It’s an intriguing idea. With nearly $14 billion in cash, Apple can certainly afford to bid in the auction. And if it were to win, it could create a network that would free it from dependence on wireless carriers like AT&T. A network that could be used to wirelessly deliver music and videos purchased on iTunes not just to iPhones, but to iPods and Apple TVs as well. An insanely great network optimized especially for Apple services.
Sadly, running such an insanely great network would be an insanely great pain in the ass. Which is likely why Apple is said to be leaning against bidding in the auction. “My first reaction to this is why would Apple do that to their margins,” Mike McGuire, vice president of research at Gartner, told News.com. “There is a lot more to this than buying spectrum licenses. They’ll need people to manage the bidding. Then once they get the spectrum, they’ll have to acquire the expertise to do something with it. And there are regulatory issues that will have to be dealt with. So the question becomes, how much of its resources does Apple really want to devote to this?”
And would Google, whose CEO Eric Schmidt sits on Apple’s board and is also considering a bid, perhaps be willing to make up the difference?