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The Company Most Likely to Collapse in 2014

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Let's keep moving the conversation forward pursuant to Monday's article about one direction Tim Cook could take iTunes Radio at Apple (AAPL).

For my money, Apple should not do anything other than focus on hardware. I only entertain expanded forays into software and services because it appears Apple will go there. To some extent it already has. Plus there comes a point where the Apple should only focus on hardware take falls apart. You can't keep half assing efforts such as Apple Maps and iTunes Radio without it coming back to bite you. You'll wind up looking like Google (GOOG) ... or worse.

So, while it's one thing to assemble features that comprise an ecosystem designed to sell hardware, it's entirely another to produce substandard components. For example, why bother doing iTunes Radio if it's not going to be the best and you're not going to maximize its potential when you could just rely on third parties or buy the leader among them -- Pandora? In other words, if you're not going to do it the right way on your own, don't do it. Have somebody else do it for you.

Plus, sooner or later somebody's going to come for Pandora. So why not Apple?

Take it from the guy who was bullish Pandora stock at eight bucks a share and then bearish at $36 -- Pandora's at its most vulnerable right now. And it's well within the realm of possibility that the company collapses under its own stubborn and shortsighted weight in 2014 or thereabouts.

Sounds crazy now I know. Wall Street analysts love Pandora. The media's on board. And Pandora tells us its running on all cylinders. Fantastic. Sounds great today, but today doesn't matter. You've got to be able to think about what's going to go down 6-12 months from now. Anybody can recite what's happening today. But tomorrow matters. And I'm telling you, on it's present course, tomorrow will not be pretty for Pandora.

Follow me here -- Pandora redefined traditional radio by adding personalization, discovery and targeted advertising. It made those three things its hyper focus. As this dynamic was forming and eventually took hold, traditional radio pretty much stood still. Deer in headlights type stuff. But, now, traditional radio's doing what it can to evolve. It's moving beyond its comfort zone of simply selling commercials. And, with the most amazing irony, Pandora's hyper focus, particularly on selling ads, has it effectively standing still. And it's acting a lot like traditional radio acted when Pandora was busy disrupting it. That's not good. Here's some support for my contention ...

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