2 Really Dumb Ideas Involving Apple, Microsoft, Ford and Yahoo!

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- This week two men I deeply admire let me down. And, to make matters worse, they did it in the same day.

TheStreet's Anton Wahlman wrote the article For Microsoft CEO: Marissa Mayer, Not Alan Mulally. And Robert Weinstein filed the rather unfortunate Why Apple Should Buy Yahoo!

First let's deal with Wahlman's thesis that Yahoo! ( YHOO) CEO Mayer should get the Microsoft ( MSFT) gig, not Ford's ( F) Mulally.

I agree with Wahlman when he says "Perhaps Alan Mulally would be a great VP of supply chain management at Microsoft -- but not CEO." That's such a solid argument against Tim Cook being CEO of Apple I have made it several times.

But we part ways when Wahlman likens Mayer to Steve Jobs and says things like:
Maybe there is no sufficiently strong taste-maker with architectural vision available to save Microsoft from its otherwise inevitable demise. But let me suggest that the person closest to fitting the bill looks to be Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer.

Or ...
In designing fashion, you need someone who (a) imposes a new form of beauty, while (b) avoids making stupid design mistakes. You have to have a good view of market trends and see where there is an unfulfilled opportunity somewhere on the chessboard.

Now people are going to call me sexist for saying I disagree. Nothing could be farther from the truth. My view of Marissa Mayer as a female CEO is as clear as can be in:

Dear Yahoo! CEO: Don't Mind Wall Street, It's Full of Chauvinist Pigs

And ...

If Marissa Mayer was a Man We Wouldn't Be Talking About This

So please don't spew vitriol. But, for as much as I supported Mayer when she got the gig ( I said buy the stock last year, the second Yahoo! hired her and before it started climbing), I wonder if she hasn't just mystified many of us into a trance, particularly Wahlman.

Lots of sizzle here -- like the cover of Vogue Magazine -- and not a whole lot of steak. What has Marissa Mayer done to warrant comparisons to Steve Jobs and even the suggestion that she has it in her to devise a strategy that can elevate Microsoft into serious competition with Apple ( AAPL) in mobile or stop it from losing the ground it will inevitably lose to Apple or Google ( GOOG) on the software and services side?

Granted she generated a whole bunch of press attention, redesigned a few apps and made over properties that never really required making over (e.g., Yahoo! Sports). But otherwise, what has she done? Objectively speaking, point to something material Mayer accomplished at Yahoo! since taking over that indicates she's up to the task of leading Microsoft any more than Mulally is.

Then there's Weinstein's armchair notion that Apple should buy Yahoo! because "we know Apple is brilliant at monetizing everything it touches, something Yahoo! and Microsoft can't currently claim." This hurts twice as much, as I consider Weinstein a close friend. The man housed me alongside his lovely family as recently as last year.

I'm not sure where this notion came from that Apple makes a significant amount of money -- relative to the whole -- on anything but hardware. It monetizes mobile devices and computers in the most basic way -- by selling them to people.

According to my math, 11.3% of Apple's revenue in the most recent quarter came from software and services (defined as "revenue from sales on the iTunes Store, the App Store, the Mac App Store, and the iBookstore, and revenue from sales of AppleCare, licensing and other services" in the company's 10Q). Hardware sales generated the remaining 88.7%.

Granted that share of the pie is growing -- a year ago, software and services, though measured differently, accounted for about 8.4% of total revenue -- but it's not Apple's bread and butter. Shouldn't be. Probably never will be. And, if it wants to continue growing (or "monetizing") software- and services-related revenue, why would Apple acquire a company with a zillion employees like Yahoo!?

Quite frankly, that type of move goes against pretty much everything that has made Apple great. It makes small acquisitions that, for all intents and purposes, end up flying under the radar. It doesn't deal in bloat. It focuses on a relatively small number of projects. That's just the opposite of Yahoo!, a company that's more difficult to pin down.

Gregg Greenberg dazzles TheStreet each week with his "Five Dumbest Things" that happened on Wall Street. At this rate, I might be able to accompany him with a review of the dumbest things that took place in tech.

-- Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.

Rocco Pendola is a columnist and TheStreet's Director of Social Media. Pendola makes frequent appearances on national television networks such as CNN and CNBC as well as TheStreet TV. Whenever possible, Pendola uses hockey, Springsteen or Southern California references in his work. He lives in Santa Monica.

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