According to Apple Inc’s chief executive Tim Cook, over the past six years the iPhone maker has acquired about 100 companies. Cook, while talking to shareholders at the company’s annual general meeting, said that on the average, Apple buys a company every three to four weeks.
In the first-quarter of its fiscal year 2021, the company’s largest quarter by revenue of all time was reported by Apple recently with quarterly revenues of $111.4bn.
The main aim of making so many acquisitions is to get access to technology and talent, Cook told the shareholders meeting.
The acquisition of Beats Electronics, the headphone manufacturers that was founded by rapper and producer Dr Dre, for $3bn was the largest acquisition by Apple in the last decade. The purchasing of the music recognition software company Shazam in a deal worth $400m in 2018 was another of the high profile acquisition of the company.
Typically, the acquisition strategy of Apple centres around purchasing smaller technology firms followed by the integration of the innovation of those firms into its own products. An example of this the acquisition of PrimeSense, an Israeli 3D sensing company, and Apple used the technology in its FaceID.
Acquisitions to get access to back-end technology have also been made by Apple even though such technologies are not so visible and obvious to users of iPhones or Macbooks.
Apple’s list of acquisitions and investments is extremely varied.
A number of firms dealing in artificial intelligence (AI), a virtual reality events business, a payments startup and a podcast business, as acquired by the company in just the past one year show the wide variety of the companies acquired by it.
With the aim of helping ot boost its own entry into the arena of self-driving technologies, Drive.ai, a self-driving shuttle firm, was acquired by Apple in 2019. A $1bn stake in Chinese ride-hailing service Didi Chuxing, was taken up by Apple in 2016, even though that investment did not give the iPhone maker a controlling stake.
Apple has plenty of money and cash to make the acquisitions as the company is immensely profitable and is worth more than $2trn. However it is apparent that Apple is very selective when choosing companies to acquire even with about 100 acquisitions in the past six years.
One example is a recent revelation made by the electric car maker tesla’s founder Elon Musk that he had approached Apple’s Tim Cook to sell off Tesla when the company was struggling in 2013. But Cook had refused to hold a meeting, Musk said.
Compared to the acquisition of many of its tech rivals, those by Apple are actually far more restrained when the acquisitions are evaluated in terms of their values.
For example, LinkedIn was purchased by Microsoft for $26bn while 13.7bn was paid for Whole Foods by Amazon. And $19bn was paid for WhatsApp by Facebook.
Even if one considered the combined deal value of the ten largest acquisitions of Apple, it would still be lower than single one of the above mentioned deals.
(Adapted from BBC.com)