Will Apple Make a Big Acquisition to Enter the 3D Printing Market?
3D Systems has a market capitalization of $1.5 billion. For the first quarter of 2012, on a non-GAAP year over year basis, revenues increased 63%, gross profit grew 67%, and earnings per share rose 47%.
They expect full year 2012 revenue to be in the range of $330-360 million and non-GAAP EPS to be from $1.00 to $1.25 (see April 2012 Investor Presentation).
Why should Apple enter the 3D printing market? Cilderman shares 3 reasons:
- Jobs loved disruptive technologies and with the iPod, iPhone, and iPad, he changed the music, movie, telecommunications, and computer industries. 3-D printing may not be there yet, but this is the next, big disruptive technology.
- Apple has a ton of cash on their balance sheet. They could purchase 3D Systems (market capitalization of $1.5 billion) with their spare pocket change. Then, spend the time and money introducing them to Apple’s corporate culture, redesigning the software and hardware to fit Apple’s goals and style.
- 3-D printing and its future also fit right in with Apple’s business model.
Apple is often not the pioneer, but once they enter a market, they build products that are “insanely great” as compared to the competition. Apple has a marketplace for digital goods (music, movies, and apps); perhaps 3D printable designs would be a natural extension. Apple’s products can be used to generate 3D printable designs, as shown by the 123D Catch app.
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Apple photo by aditza121 used under Creative Commons license.