Apple still acquires 15-20 companies per year, Cook says no size is too large to consider

Posted:
in AAPL Investors
Apple CEO Tim Cook revealed on Tuesday that his company's ambitions as far as acquisitions continues apace, with no acquisition apparently too big or too small for the company to consider from a strategic standpoint.




When Cook was asked about a possible cash repatriation, he initially cautioned to "lets wait and see exactly what it is," as it remains unclear as to how or when tax reform would happen under a new U.S. leadership. However, he also noted that acquisitions were a big part of Apple's business model in the past, currently, and in the future.

"There's not a size that we would not do, based on just the size of it," said Cook. "It's more of the strategic value of it."

Cook stopped short of discussing potential avenues of acquisition for the company, saying that "we are always looking at acquisitions." Apple has purchased between 15 and 20 companies per year, for the last four years.

Notable acquisitions in 2016 include artificial intelligence firms Turi and Tuplejump, and global music platform provider Omnifone. The company also made a $1 billion investment in Chinese ride hailing company Didi Chuxing, as well as another billion into SoftBank's "Vision Fund" for tech business growth.

On Tuesday, Apple reported that its holiday 2016 quarter was the company's biggest ever, soaring to new heights on sales of 78.3 million iPhones following the launch of the blockbuster iPhone 7 series, exceeding Wall Street expectations by all measures.

Apple currently has $246.1 billion on hand, with 94% of it held overseas. Five years ago, the company held $81 billion, with about two-thirds held off shore.

"Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans," Apple typically says in response to acquisition rumors, and today's remarks shed some light, but not much, on Apple's strategy.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 18
    Buy General Electric. They're practically a utility at this point.
  • Reply 2 of 18
    mtbnutmtbnut Posts: 185member
    "There's not a size that we would not do, based on just the size of it..."

    Let the tea leaf reading begin...

    They should buy Sony, just as a big FU to the 1990s Apple naysayers.
    edited January 2017 lmagoowatto_cobraargonautcali
  • Reply 3 of 18
    Jesse WehnerJesse Wehner Posts: 2unconfirmed, member
    They should buy Netflix!!!
    edited January 2017 lmagoowatto_cobraargonautireland
  • Reply 4 of 18
    pastormac1usapastormac1usa Posts: 3unconfirmed, member
    I believe it is in Apple's interest to get past the Last Mile Problem. Apple is producing devices w/ a related ecosystem but they do not possess the means to deliver the content to those devices. We have seen that the majority of internet traffic is now mobile and the mobile industry is starting to pivot to being a primary ISP.  What if Apple were to make a play not in the wireline segment but in the wireless space? Think globally--what about Deutsche Telekom? That also includes T-Mobile here in the US. What regulatory hurdles would this involve minimally in the US?
    watto_cobraargonautpalomine
  • Reply 5 of 18
    quinneyquinney Posts: 2,501member
    Buy General Electric. They're practically a utility at this point.
    The aircraft engines and oil and gas extraction equipment would come in especially handy.
    SpamSandwich
  • Reply 6 of 18
    irelandireland Posts: 17,095member
    Acquire Netflix Tim.

    Culturally, Apple will likely never understand how to produce new content as well as Netflix, without acquiring them. It's not Apple's forte, at all. Acquire Netflix, let them run independently of Apple and have a over 2-year transition plan to rebranded and relaunch Netflix as "Apple TV" (the service). With special pricing for Apple customers and even better pricing if a person subscribes to both Apple TV & Apple Music. Along with all new redesigned, well designed, intuitive apps across a range of devices. It'd put AM and ATV (the puck) on the map over night—everyone would want an Apple TV. They could optionally intro a second option for ATV (the service)—a slightly higher pricing tier (above $9.99; 6-person family plan) with a 2-year contract for ATV with a free puck included ($14.99;  6-person family plan). AM family plan $14.99 also.

    Both streaming services together $24.99 per month ($29.99 minus the $4.99 combi-plan discount). Or without the complimentary puck and contract it's $19.99 per month for family ATV & AM.

    Concurrently, produce a truly great first party gaming controller at least as good as the Xbox and PlayStation controllers and beef up the processing and graphics power of the puck and lower the price to $99 (barely break even).

    Cut to 5 years from today, Apple own the living room and have moved past Spotify in music: they own web streaming of TV, music, are the go-to device for living room gaming and inadvertently a huge amount of people suddenly have a HomeKit hub in their home.

    Botton line: acquire Netflix Tim, otherwise these documentaries on AM are a distraction, Apple TV sales dwindle, AM subscriber numbers don't hockey-stick as they should and Apple has no viable steaming plan for TV.

    I sincerely mean this when I say if I was Apple and they could work out a deal to keep the content contracts Neflix already has in place I'd pay $100B for the company. When it comes to streaming TV or films there's Neflix and there's everyone else. They are in a league of their own. That and a decent gaming controller are what are holding back Apple TV from taking off and being truly desirable. When you own the platform you can price it lower on your box to entice sales of said box. And then a combined subscription plan for AM & ATV would be genius, but that only works if the "ATV" part in that combination is Netflix.

    It allows Apple to focus on what it's great at: hardware, apps, ease of use, and new products like Car. Just as if Apple were to go social in a meaningful way they should just buy Twitter, to take on video streaming meaningfully, Netflix is where it's all. Every film, TV show and doc series makers want to be on Netflix. It's the only game in town.
    edited January 2017 watto_cobraargonautdamn_its_hot
  • Reply 7 of 18
    k2kwk2kw Posts: 1,214member
    ireland said:
    Acquire Netflix Tim.

    Culturally, Apple will likely never understand how to produce new content as well as Netflix, without acquiring them. It's not Apple's forte, at all. Acquire Netflix, let them run independently of Apple and have a over 2-year transition plan to rebranded and relaunch Netflix as "Apple TV" (the service). With special pricing for Apple customers and even better pricing if a person subscribes to both Apple TV & Apple Music. Along with all new redesigned, well designed, intuitive apps across a range of devices. It'd put AM and ATV (the puck) on the map over night—everyone would want an Apple TV. They could optionally intro a second option for ATV (the service)—a slightly higher pricing tier (above $9.99; 6-person family plan) with a 2-year contract for ATV with a free puck included ($14.99;  6-person family plan). AM family plan $14.99 also.

    Both streaming services together $24.99 per month ($29.99 minus the $4.99 combi-plan discount). Or without the complimentary puck and contract it's $19.99 per month for family ATV & AM.

    Concurrently, produce a truly great first party gaming controller at least as good as the Xbox and PlayStation controllers and beef up the processing and graphics power of the puck and lower the price to $99 (barely break even).

    Cut to 5 years from today, Apple own the living room and have moved past Spotify in music: they own web streaming of TV, music, are the go-to device for living room gaming and inadvertently a huge amount of people suddenly have a HomeKit hub in their home.

    Botton line: acquire Netflix Tim, otherwise these documentaries on AM are a distraction, Apple TV sales dwindle, AM subscriber numbers don't hockey-stick as they should and Apple has no viable steaming plan for TV.

    I sincerely mean this when I say if I was Apple and they could work out a deal to keep the content contracts Neflix already has in place I'd pay $100B for the company. When it comes to streaming TV or films there's Neflix and there's everyone else. They are in a league of their own. That and a decent gaming controller are what are holding back Apple TV from taking off and being truly desirable. When you own the platform you can price it lower on your box to entice sales of said box. And then a combined subscription plan for AM & ATV would be genius, but that only works if the "ATV" part in that combination is Netflix.

    It allows Apple to focus on what it's great at: hardware, apps, ease of use, and new products like Car. Just as if Apple were to go social in a meaningful way they should just buy Twitter, to take on video streaming meaningfully, Netflix is where it's all. Every film, TV show and doc series makers want to be on Netflix. It's the only game in town.
    Nice idea but probably too expensive for Tim and not a big enough margin.
  • Reply 8 of 18
    ireland said:
    Acquire Netflix Tim.

    I sincerely mean this when I say if I was Apple and they could work out a deal to keep the content contracts Neflix already has in place I'd pay $100B for the company. 
    That's not an outrageous price.  The market cap of Netflix is $60B today and it was $36B just 6 months ago.  Of course the P/E ratio is 335 (twice that of Amazon), but it is a market darling.
    watto_cobraargonautdamn_its_hot
  • Reply 9 of 18
    Apple won't touch Sony. Makes zero sense.

    Could have bought Yahoo - but it got to a point where Apple's capability in cloud was better than Yahoo.

    It's rapidly becoming obvious Apple will only buy companies that are in core research, as well as companies that have made huge progress in capturing market share in priority markets.

    NetFlix seems like a natural fit for Apple TV
    watto_cobraargonautdamn_its_hot
  • Reply 10 of 18
    I believe it is in Apple's interest to get past the Last Mile Problem. Apple is producing devices w/ a related ecosystem but they do not possess the means to deliver the content to those devices. We have seen that the majority of internet traffic is now mobile and the mobile industry is starting to pivot to being a primary ISP.  What if Apple were to make a play not in the wireline segment but in the wireless space? Think globally--what about Deutsche Telekom? That also includes T-Mobile here in the US. What regulatory hurdles would this involve minimally in the US?
    I'm not sure DT is a good fit. Outside of the UK, where DT no longer exists, Apple doesn't do so well in Europe. And if it's going for mobile, that only makes up about a third of its revenue anyway. It might be better off buying T-Mobile in the US if it wanted mobile. I'm sure Trump would be happier to see an American company buy T-Mobile US rather than a Japanese company merge Sprint with T-Mobile
  • Reply 11 of 18
    ireland said:
    Acquire Netflix Tim.

    Culturally, Apple will likely never understand how to produce new content as well as Netflix, without acquiring them. It's not Apple's forte, at all. Acquire Netflix, let them run independently of Apple and have a over 2-year transition plan to rebranded and relaunch Netflix as "Apple TV" (the service). With special pricing for Apple customers and even better pricing if a person subscribes to both Apple TV & Apple Music. Along with all new redesigned, well designed, intuitive apps across a range of devices. It'd put AM and ATV (the puck) on the map over night—everyone would want an Apple TV. They could optionally intro a second option for ATV (the service)—a slightly higher pricing tier (above $9.99; 6-person family plan) with a 2-year contract for ATV with a free puck included ($14.99;  6-person family plan). AM family plan $14.99 also.

    Both streaming services together $24.99 per month ($29.99 minus the $4.99 combi-plan discount). Or without the complimentary puck and contract it's $19.99 per month for family ATV & AM.

    Concurrently, produce a truly great first party gaming controller at least as good as the Xbox and PlayStation controllers and beef up the processing and graphics power of the puck and lower the price to $99 (barely break even).

    Cut to 5 years from today, Apple own the living room and have moved past Spotify in music: they own web streaming of TV, music, are the go-to device for living room gaming and inadvertently a huge amount of people suddenly have a HomeKit hub in their home.

    Botton line: acquire Netflix Tim, otherwise these documentaries on AM are a distraction, Apple TV sales dwindle, AM subscriber numbers don't hockey-stick as they should and Apple has no viable steaming plan for TV.

    I sincerely mean this when I say if I was Apple and they could work out a deal to keep the content contracts Neflix already has in place I'd pay $100B for the company. When it comes to streaming TV or films there's Neflix and there's everyone else. They are in a league of their own. That and a decent gaming controller are what are holding back Apple TV from taking off and being truly desirable. When you own the platform you can price it lower on your box to entice sales of said box. And then a combined subscription plan for AM & ATV would be genius, but that only works if the "ATV" part in that combination is Netflix.

    It allows Apple to focus on what it's great at: hardware, apps, ease of use, and new products like Car. Just as if Apple were to go social in a meaningful way they should just buy Twitter, to take on video streaming meaningfully, Netflix is where it's all. Every film, TV show and doc series makers want to be on Netflix. It's the only game in town.
    The biggest problem with that would be the fact that none of the agreements the studios have with Netflix would survive the transfer of ownership. Without the content Netflix has created on their own, they have nothing to sell, other than a customer list.
    damn_its_hotpatchythepirategatorguy
  • Reply 12 of 18
    The biggest problem with that would be the fact that none of the agreements the studios have with Netflix would survive the transfer of ownership. Without the content Netflix has created on their own, they have nothing to sell, other than a customer list.
    How does that make sense? If that was the case, no movie studio in history could continue the syndication of partnership films or international flicks after being purchased. It would be just fine. What do you think Apple pays $10's of millions in attorney fees and salaries for? 
  • Reply 13 of 18
    There are two areas people became fed up with - dragging around raft of cords to charge up their devices and so poor longevity and reliability of batteries. The cure for both diseases has commenced to arise in the form of wireless charging and transistor tech capable of picking even the tiniest amounts of energy and boosting it multifold. The thing is the Apple solely relying on other companies to further these two facets will bring no satisfactory outcome in a long long time. The best shot Apple has is to acquire companies involved with core research in wireless and transistor, speed it up immensely and effectively make a shortcut. The pace those companies are going ahead wirh it means we'll have it viable in 35 years, at best. Sorry, these two fields are long overdue and any further delays will be deemed counter- customer oriented. Customer wishes to be fulfilled, in full. 
  • Reply 14 of 18
    volcanvolcan Posts: 1,574member
    I believe it is in Apple's interest to get past the Last Mile Problem. Apple is producing devices w/ a related ecosystem but they do not possess the means to deliver the content to those devices. We have seen that the majority of internet traffic is now mobile and the mobile industry is starting to pivot to being a primary ISP.  What if Apple were to make a play not in the wireline segment but in the wireless space? Think globally--what about Deutsche Telekom? That also includes T-Mobile here in the US. What regulatory hurdles would this involve minimally in the US?
    Apple would probably buy companies that help them globally, not just in the US. There are around 1,200 wireless service providers worldwide. Buying T-Mobile doesn't do much for them on a global scale, besides, T-Mobile doesn't even have their own towers. They use to have quite a few, but they sold them off and lease them back. In addition, they colocate base stations on most of the other US carriers' towers, but that leaves them at the mercy of the other carriers' back haul capacity.

    I believe Apple would be more likely to buy companies that have their own proprietary technology that could be used to enhance Apple's existing core markets. I don't know what that is, but I'm pretty sure it is not buying T-Mobile. Buying T-Mobile would also mean inheriting their Android and Windows handset business which does nothing for Apple.

    Dish would be a logical buyer of T-Mobile though, because Dish is US centric and has a huge piece of the US wireless spectrum that they are not even using.
  • Reply 15 of 18
    irelandireland Posts: 17,095member
    ireland said:
    Acquire Netflix Tim.

    Culturally, Apple will likely never understand how to produce new content as well as Netflix, without acquiring them. It's not Apple's forte, at all. Acquire Netflix, let them run independently of Apple and have a over 2-year transition plan to rebranded and relaunch Netflix as "Apple TV" (the service). With special pricing for Apple customers and even better pricing if a person subscribes to both Apple TV & Apple Music. Along with all new redesigned, well designed, intuitive apps across a range of devices. It'd put AM and ATV (the puck) on the map over night—everyone would want an Apple TV. They could optionally intro a second option for ATV (the service)—a slightly higher pricing tier (above $9.99; 6-person family plan) with a 2-year contract for ATV with a free puck included ($14.99;  6-person family plan). AM family plan $14.99 also.

    Both streaming services together $24.99 per month ($29.99 minus the $4.99 combi-plan discount). Or without the complimentary puck and contract it's $19.99 per month for family ATV & AM.

    Concurrently, produce a truly great first party gaming controller at least as good as the Xbox and PlayStation controllers and beef up the processing and graphics power of the puck and lower the price to $99 (barely break even).

    Cut to 5 years from today, Apple own the living room and have moved past Spotify in music: they own web streaming of TV, music, are the go-to device for living room gaming and inadvertently a huge amount of people suddenly have a HomeKit hub in their home.

    Botton line: acquire Netflix Tim, otherwise these documentaries on AM are a distraction, Apple TV sales dwindle, AM subscriber numbers don't hockey-stick as they should and Apple has no viable steaming plan for TV.

    I sincerely mean this when I say if I was Apple and they could work out a deal to keep the content contracts Neflix already has in place I'd pay $100B for the company. When it comes to streaming TV or films there's Neflix and there's everyone else. They are in a league of their own. That and a decent gaming controller are what are holding back Apple TV from taking off and being truly desirable. When you own the platform you can price it lower on your box to entice sales of said box. And then a combined subscription plan for AM & ATV would be genius, but that only works if the "ATV" part in that combination is Netflix.

    It allows Apple to focus on what it's great at: hardware, apps, ease of use, and new products like Car. Just as if Apple were to go social in a meaningful way they should just buy Twitter, to take on video streaming meaningfully, Netflix is where it's all. Every film, TV show and doc series makers want to be on Netflix. It's the only game in town.
    The biggest problem with that would be the fact that none of the agreements the studios have with Netflix would survive the transfer of ownership. Without the content Netflix has created on their own, they have nothing to sell, other than a customer list.
    I've heard this before and I mentioned it, but I don't see evidence for it. $100B gives them ~$20B to play with to make sure the contracts stay.
    edited February 2017
  • Reply 16 of 18
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    "It's more of the strategic value of it."

    This is why Apple won't buy companies like Netflix.
    Netflix makes tons of sense but the price tag doesn't. If they bought the service I feel like renaming it "Apple TV" would kill the household name and familiarity. Leave it a short Netflix and take money from the android/windows people.


    I would love to see Apple buy Canon and Immersions Corp(an innovative company that licenses tech).

    Immersions created haptic feedback that mimicked real life situations years ago. Now we have the Taptic Engine and soon the Nintendo Switch which allows you to feel things like ice in a cup and marbles in the controllers provided by Immersions technology.
    Canon makes beautiful camera tech and once created TVs that were clearer than OLED back in 2007. The TVs couldn't release due to a patent issue.

    I believe it is in Apple's interest to get past the Last Mile Problem. Apple is producing devices w/ a related ecosystem but they do not possess the means to deliver the content to those devices. We have seen that the majority of internet traffic is now mobile and the mobile industry is starting to pivot to being a primary ISP.  What if Apple were to make a play not in the wireline segment but in the wireless space? Think globally--what about Deutsche Telekom? That also includes T-Mobile here in the US. What regulatory hurdles would this involve minimally in the US?
    I'm not sure DT is a good fit. Outside of the UK, where DT no longer exists, Apple doesn't do so well in Europe. And if it's going for mobile, that only makes up about a third of its revenue anyway. It might be better off buying T-Mobile in the US if it wanted mobile. I'm sure Trump would be happier to see an American company buy T-Mobile US rather than a Japanese company merge Sprint with T-Mobile

    I talked about this a few weeks ago.

    it would be better for Apple to offer their own service as Apple Mobile.

    Apple already has tons of Stores in place and their proprietary network would solve tons of issues from crappy customer service to eliminating the ugly sim tray.

    Apple is selling way too many iPhones to not be providing their own service at Apple Stores. Imagine the ease of use, customer satisfaction and innovation. 
  • Reply 17 of 18
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 2,115member
    The number one issue for Apple is how to guarantee delivery of its services. They have data centers and distribution agreements but have zero control over the actual delivery of their services.

    The move to capping mobile data usage for users has already begun. ISPs and carriers are also fighting to get companies like Apple, Google etc to pay them as they consider they cause them bandwidth issues. A ridiculous claim but it comes up every year at MWC all the same.

    If you can't find a way to guarantee that your services reach your clients and at sufficient speed you are in trouble. What's the point of having data centers or content delivery agreements if your users are being capped at the point of delivery?

    It's the kind of problem that takes money to resolve.
  • Reply 18 of 18
    TomTom would be a perfect choice. They still use their data. HERE was bought by german car manufacturers...
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