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Day May 16, 2011

iPhone share of phone market in Q1: 5% volumes, 20% revenues, 55% profit

Operating profits for the eight vendors I track increased at a compounded 25% over three years. As with revenues, the growth is concentrated. The following chart shows operating profit growth across three time frames: three year compounded, year/year and sequential. Loss-making vendors are excluded from this chart.

Looking at individual performance, the following chart shows how each vendor performed over time:

Did Microsoft pay for the wrong Skype?

When a company is acquired, the price paid is usually higher than what the company is worth. This is because there is a “control premium” that needs to be paid so that the acquiring company can control the destiny of the acquired company (while the seller loses that right). So the question has to be what does the premium (or excess cost) buy? What is the value of that control? What will be the new destiny? Whose destiny is changed?

Clayton Christensen succinctly defined the value in any company as the sum of three constituent parts: resources, processes and business models. Market value can be nothing more and nothing less than these three things.

An acquisition has to be positioned on one of these targets just like a product is positioned on a specific market. The problem with being deliberate about where the value lies is that once positioned a certain way, the integration team will begin to execute on that plan. This means that the thing you decided was worth most (e.g. resources) gets all the attention and the other potential sources of value (processes or profit models) are discarded.