With the real market value (stock price) of Facebook continuing to decline from its IPO offering of $38 (as of this writing the price was below $26.50), rumors are starting to abound about Apple buying Facebook. But does that really make any sense? We've heard Tim Cook say Apple buys companies for two reasons: talent and/or technology. While Facebook has some of both the value of the company is in the data it has collected and its massive user base.
Thinking a little different, there is another player out there that might be more suited to gobble up Facebook and it isn't Google.
Enter into the picture Microsoft. Microsoft already bought equity in Facebook a few years back by "investing" over $1 billion. Facebook uses Microsoft's Bing search engine for web search results. Microsoft doesn't have the narrow criteria that Apple does when it comes to purchasing other companies. We also know that Microsoft likes to make big splashes on the front page news by purchasing big companies (Skype, the attempt on Yahoo!... and others). Finally Microsoft totally missed the "social network" craze launched in the last decade. If they had been first they could've built it into Windows and had a real juggernaut.
If Microsoft were to purchase Facebook, it would be the biggest take-over/merger since HP bought out Compaq. The merger would gobble up lots energy on both sides trying to figure out how to merge the companies and cultures as well as the internal turf wars — trying to protect jobs. It is uncertain how many years it would take for Microsoft to recover the cash outlay/stock swap for Facebook. All in all, it would be a risky gamble, but right now Microsoft is a ship that is going down (as far as dominance). Microsoft's strategy to say relevenat may be to add the Facebook buoy to its ship.
Time will tell if this happens, but if Facebook's stock continues to decline, the smart money is on Microsoft making an attempt to buy Facebook.