Apple buys a company every three to four weeks


Apple has acquired about 100 companies in the past six years, Chief Executive Tim Cook revealed.

That’s equivalent to one company every three to four weeks, he said Tuesday at Apple’s annual shareholder meeting.

Apple recently delivered its best-ever quarter in terms of revenue, taking in $111.4 billion (£78.7 billion) in the first quarter of fiscal 2021.

Cook said at the shareholder meeting that the acquisitions are primarily aimed at acquiring technology and talent.

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Apple’s biggest acquisition in the past decade was its $3 billion purchase of Beats Electronics, the headphone company founded by rapper and producer Dr. Dre.

Another high-profile purchase was music recognition software company Shazam, which was bought for $400 million in 2018.

 

Most often, Apple buys smaller tech companies and then incorporates their innovations into its own products.

One example is PrimeSense, an Israeli 3D sensing company whose technology contributed to Apple’s FaceID.

Apple has also invested in back-end technology that isn’t as obvious to iPhone or Macbook users.

Self-driving cars, podcasts and more

The list of Apple’s acquisitions and investments is extremely diverse.

In the past year, Apple has purchased several artificial intelligence (AI) companies, a virtual reality event company, a payments startup and a podcast company, among others.

In 2019, Apple bought Drive.ai, a self-driving shuttle company, to bolster its own push into self-driving technologies.

In 2016, the company also took a $1 billion stake in Chinese ride-hailing service Didi Chuxing, although it was not a majority stake.

Deep pockets

Apple is an immensely profitable juggernaut valued at more than $2 trillion, so it has plenty of cash for acquisitions.

But even though it has bought 100 companies in six years, Apple seems to be very selective about what it buys.

For example, Tesla founder Elon Musk recently revealed that he approached Mr. Cook to buy the electric car company when it was in trouble in 2013.

Mr. Cook did not take the meeting, Mr. Musk said.

In terms of value, Apple’s acquisitions are actually much more restrained than those of many of its tech rivals.

 

Microsoft paid $26 billion for LinkedIn, Amazon $13.7 billion for Whole Foods and Facebook $19 billion for WhatsApp.

Apple’s ten largest purchases combined would still be worth far less than any of these deals.

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