An oft-forgot fact: If not for an investment from Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) in 1997, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) would have died.
Of course, accepting the lifeline turned into one of the shrewdest bets in history — Apple has become the most feared tech company in the world, especially since the launch of the iPhone almost five years ago.
Along the way, Apple has gone on to severely damage or even destroy a number of rivals. And this hasn’t been a matter of collateral damage. Steve Jobs had an intense drive to destroy the competition, as recounted from Walter Isaacson’s best-selling biography:
“I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong. I’m going to destroy Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android, because it’s a stolen product.”
Here’s a look at three notable companies Apple has nuked:
Research In Motion
Not long ago, BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) was a juggernaut of the smartphone space. Now it’s a dinosaur that’s headed for extinction.
The only things that seem to be growing at RIMM are the declines in shipments and revenue. While the company is working on new models to re-energize the business, they will be slow in coming and won’t be available until the end of the year. In the meantime, Apple will continue to harvest RIMM’s share.
The only hope for investors is a buyout, and many have clung to rumors about possible deals from Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and others. But in light of the rapid deterioration, Research In Motion likely won’t fetch much of a premium.
Last year, Nokia‘s (NYSE:NOK) new CEO, Stephen Elop, sent out a brutal email detailing the status of the company in which he compared the situation to a burning oil platform.
Well, that platform fire has become an inferno. Nokia’s partnership with Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) has been a dud, the only benefit of which was an influx of capital that has kept Nokia alive.
Elop’s current strategy is to slash the work force — a much-needed move considering Nokia’s bloated organization. But it’s a cost-saver that will only buy time. Without innovation, Nokia will turn to ashes.
Palm was a pioneer in mobile devices, with its origins going back about 20 years. The original technology that made its name was a digital organizer, but over time, the company moved into the smartphone business.
Unfortunately, devices such as the Pre and Pixi were lackluster offerings. And worse, Palm was slow to build out its developer community. The company eventually struck an exclusive distribution arrangement with struggling Sprint (NYSE:S). By 2010, Palm was on the verge of implosion; however, the company somehow made itself seem attractive enough (mostly by flaunting webOS) to warrant a $1.2 billion buyout by Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ).
In August 2011, HPQ shut down production of smartphones.
Tom Taulli runs the InvestorPlace blog IPO Playbook, a site dedicated to the hottest news and rumors about initial public offerings. He also is the author of “The Complete M&A Handbook”, “All About Short Selling” and “All About Commodities.” Follow him on Twitter at @ttaulli or reach him via email. As of this writing, he did not own a position in any of the aforementioned securities.