Seeing the Bigger Picture 12 Apr 2012
It can often be helpful to see the ‘bigger picture’ of a company’s financial status. Knowing how large a company is, in terms of its turnover, profits, assets and liabilities, is very useful information in terms of knowing how the company is likely to behave, how substantial its assets are, how good an investment its shares are, how likely it is to be able to afford a service offered, and how well it can afford to pay its debts.
A number of dramatic examples have appeared in the news in recent weeks of how the sheer size of some companies can affect their activities in unusual ways:
Following from the huge increase in popularity of smartphones and tablet computers, the biggest companies in the industry have fought one another in the courts over patent rights. Building a smartphone involves technologies which make use of thousands of patents, and it is only the largest companies which can afford to contest these patents in court.
Apple led the initial recent growth in smartphones with the iPhone. This was followed by the Android operating system developed by Google. Steve Jobs of Apple felt that Android phones represented a huge theft of ideas from Apple, and resolved to fight the other smartphone companies in the courts, even using all of Apple’s huge cash reserves if necessary, which were recently shown to be greater than those of the US Government. Apple launched legal proceedings against HTC and Samsung, in some cases preventing sale of Android devices. These companies have fought back by launching counter-attack lawsuits against Apple, and also by purchasing ‘armouries’ of large numbers of patents of their own.
In recent years, Facebook has come to dominate the online social networking scene, acquiring hundreds of millions of users, and displacing rivals such as MySpace and Bebo. Having successfully developed substantial revenue, largely through advertising, they have recently been planning for a public flotation, an Initial Public Offering (IPO), in which they are seeking to raise $5bn of their estimated $100bn value.
Once Facebook’s value became apparent, Yahoo launched a patent lawsuit against it, which was followed by a patent counter-lawsuit by Facebook against Yahoo. Facebook has also acquired 750 patents from IBM to help it with patent disputes.
In the run-up to Facebook’s flotation, it has acquired the mobile photo-sharing social network Instagram for $1bn. This places a very high value on Instagram, which as yet has no means of earning revenue, which has led some to question whether it was really worth the amount paid by Facebook. Facebook was seeking to bolster its mobile presence, a hugely growing sector, whereas its own strength was considered to be its use on desktop computers.
Prospecting for Business
But what about how this affects more everyday business, that is, “Business as Usual”?
When seeking to approach potential customers or business partners, it is very important to know how big the company is, and how realistic a prospect it is to try to do business with it.
This is one example of where information on a company’s size and financial situation can play a key role in business decision making.
bizzy® shows you the Bigger Picture
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bizzy® - showing you the Bigger Picture!
Posted in bizzy blog on 12 Apr 2012.