A post on The Next Web suggests that Apple, having US$77 billion languishing in the bank, should use that money to either buy a carrier or build out their own data network. While this appears to be an intriguing idea, it has one rather significant problem: it would only give Apple a carrier in the US, and completely ignores the larger global market. Yes, the US and Canada currently represent a significant chunk of the smartphone market. But, if you look at where Nokia’s market was when they were at their peak, it was everywhere but North America. And they sold far more smartphones at one point than Apple did.
Apple’s growth for the future is global. That isn’t to say there isn’t more room for growth in mobile devices in the US. It is just that the global market is larger and a smaller portion of it uses smartphones. Buying a US-based carrier, or building out their own data network in the US, would be a tremendous waste of Apple’s money.