No surprise there. Three billion is a lot of money, and Nest has genuine Silicon Valley star power: It was co-founded by Tony Fadell, a top Apple engineer who had a hand in two of Steve Jobs' breakthrough products, the iPod and the iPhone.
Also not surprisingly, it didn't take long for commentators to start asking whether Apple (AAPL) had dropped the ball by not buying, or even bidding on Nest. One went so far as to ask whether in losing Fadell to Google, Cupertino had let a potential future Apple CEO slip through its fingers.
I see several problems with these questions.
Maybe it comes down to this: Google, beloved by Wall Street for its steady flow of AdWords cash, can afford to take moon shots that miss their targets. Apple, perceived by the Street to be in perpetual free-fall, cannot afford to fail.
UPDATE: TUAW's Yoni Heisler points out that the cost of Apple's 10 most expensive acquisitions combined comes out to less than the $3.2 billion Google spent for Nest. Apple has has never spent more than $404 million on any one company -- that one being NeXT. See Why Apple didn't buy Nest.
Steve Jobs was focused on innovative products. His successor is focused on process.
FORTUNE -- At a Business Insider conference Friday, ex-iPod hardware chief Tony Fadell praised Apple (AAPL) CEO Tim Cook as an innovator.
But he wasn't talking about whizzy new products like the iPhone or iPad. Cook's expertise is in operations -- in the supply chain that produces those iPhones and iPads.
"The number of turns he did on the inventory MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Nov 14, 2013 7:22 AM ET
"Quality is not a fad, neither is sustainability," says the co-founder and CEO of Nest.
FORTUNE -- Tony Fadell is the co-founder and CEO of Nest, a household product manufacturer that focuses on social and environmental sustainability. Prior to founding Nest he worked as the senior vice president of the iPod division and as advisor to the CEO for Apple. Nest creates "smart" household products like the programmable Nest thermostat and the MOREChanelle Bessette - Nov 13, 2013 11:29 AM ET
Ex-Apple SVP Tony Fadell first wowed consumers in 2011 by introducing a sleek thermostat. Now he's back, this time with an equally elegant smoke detector called Nest Protect.JP Mangalindan, Writer - Oct 8, 2013 9:00 AM ET
The former Apple VP who built 18 generations of iPods and 3 of iPhones breaks silence
FORTUNE -- We don't know what kind of legal constraints have prevented former Apple (AAPL) senior vice president Tony Fadell from speaking to the press about the circumstances that led to his departure in 2008, but apparently he felt it gave him enough wiggle room to talk to the BBC about the man who reportedly MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Nov 29, 2012 5:46 AM ET
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* Bloomberg reports that Apple (AAPL) may be developing a television set sporting what Steve Jobs told Walter Isaacson is "the simplest user interface you could imagine." Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster predicts such a device could go on sale next year or in 2013. (Bloomberg)
* The "father of the iPod," MOREJP Mangalindan, Writer - Oct 25, 2011 10:40 AM ET
Tony Fadell leaves Apple nearly 17 months after losing the iPod/iPhone division
He came to Apple (AAPL) in 2001 with plans for building what would become the iPod. By 2006 he had replaced Jon Rubinstein -- who went on to build the Palm (PALM) Pre -- as head of Apple's iPod division, in charge of both what was then the company's biggest cash cow and the project that would become the MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Mar 30, 2010 7:14 AM ET
In the end, they split it down the middle.
On Tuesday, International Business Machines (IBM) announced that it has resolved the lawsuit against a newly appointed senior vice president at Apple Inc. (AAPL) that was, for a brief moment last November, the hottest story in technology -- a bi-coastal drama that pitted one of the world's largest and most established computer companies against one of the brashest.
The case involved Steve Jobs' MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jan 27, 2009 3:10 PM ET
Steve Jobs' high-profile raid on IBM's managerial ranks hit a snag on Friday.
A judge in White Plains, N.Y., ordered Mark Papermaster -- IBM's (IBM) former top microprocessor executive and Apple's (AAPL) newest senior VP -- to immediately stop working for Jobs.
It's the latest chapter in a bi-coastal drama that pits one of the world's largest and most established technology companies against one of the brashest. Here's a timeline:
January 2008: Robert MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Nov 8, 2008 6:37 AM ET
UPDATE: Reading Mark Papermaster's statement in full, I discover that it had been taken it out of context. The full quote, reproduced at the bottom of this post, makes a lot more sense. My apologies to Mr. Papermaster.
- - -
"I do not recall a single instance of Apple being described as a competitor of IBM during my entire tenure at IBM."
I did mental double take when I read those MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Nov 7, 2008 6:08 PM ET
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