Tim Cook says that Apple has bought 20 to 25 companies in the last six months

Posted:
in General Discussion edited May 6
Apple is now typically buying a company every two to three weeks, CEO Tim Cook said in an interview during Berkshire Hathaway's annual shareholder meeting this weekend.

Tim Cook on right


In the last six months alone Apple has snapped up 20 to 25 businesses, Cook told CNBC. These aren't usually announced, the executive explained, because they're often small firms and Apple is "primarily looking for talent and intellectual property."

After spending on projects like its $1 billion secondary campus in Austin the company looks for targets of opportunity, Cook continued.

"If we have money left over, we look to see what else we [can] do," he commented. "We acquire everything that we need that can fit and has a strategic purpose to it. And so we acquire a company on average, every two to three weeks."

Some recent small-scale takeovers include backend startup Stamplay and machine learning outfit Laserlike. Other areas of interest include augmented reality and Apple Music content.

Analysts and investors have sometimes pushed Apple to use its cash reserves -- now topping $225.4 billion -- to buy out large corporations, even rivals like Netflix or Tesla. It hasn't made any such purchase since 2014, when it spent $3 billion on buying Beats to lay the groundwork for Apple Music and future audio gear.

Its last major purchase was Texture, announced during SXSW 2018, for which it allegedly paid at least $485 million. That service formed the basis for Apple News+, which lets people read a collection of magazines and newspapers for a flat monthly fee.
«1

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 33
    Looks like following old Microsoft route in doing these things.
  • Reply 2 of 33
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,170member
    Looks like following old Microsoft route in doing these things.
    Not quite. The old Microsoft route was to announce a competitive product was on its way and wait for the sales to collapse for the company whose technology it coveted, then buy that company at fire sales prices so it could release the promised product.
    edited May 6 tmayStrangeDayspscooter63JWSCAppleExposedjony0
  • Reply 3 of 33
    zoetmbzoetmb Posts: 2,473member
    If Apple is buying these companies in large part to acquire talent and staffing, I ask the question again that I've asked before:   what the hell are those tens of thousands of employees at Apple doing?    They don't produce that many products, most of the hardware updates are incremental, they still rely upon Intel for processors (although that might change in the future) and while their products are great in some respects, they're highly flawed in others.   They abandoned servers and network devices.   HomePod and AppleTV aren't exactly taking over the market.   They've had big problems with keyboards.   They seem to have abandoned their desire to produce a smart automobile.   They haven't made any obvious movies into AI and robotics, which I have always thought would be the future of Apple 10-15 years from now.   Siri still sucks.   Each new OS update decreases prior compatibility and seems filled with more bugs.    The long promised new MacPro still isn't here.   And their products (IMO) are far too expensive. 

    Personally, I think Apple is making itself too large to manage effectively.    On a much smaller scale, I've seen this before.   I worked for a company that had over 100 developers working on an e-commerce project and little got accomplished.   We got rid of the contractors and knocked the staff down to 22 and because 22 people could be easily managed, far more was accomplished.   

    Was the Beats acquisition really worth the $billions they paid?   Apple couldn't have instead produced headphones that competed with Beats and knocked them out of the market with superior marketing for far less money?    While Beats headphones are popular, it's not like they're actually any good.    They probably could have bought Sennheiser for a fraction of the cost or Grado for pocket change.   

    I have to wonder that with the speed that Apple is acquiring these companies, how many of them are successfully integrated into Apple where Apple actually makes use of the tech.   If they're buying them just to acquire patents as a protection against lawsuits, that's another matter. 

    With all of that cash and since Apple is emphasizing services because that's where the growth is, I also have to wonder if they shouldn't have attempted to buy 20th Century Fox (which went to Disney) or Warner (which went to AT&T).    
    elijahg
  • Reply 4 of 33
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 1,991member
    Is it 20 or 25 companies? Can't be both numbers.Anyway, good to be proactive and buy companies at cheaper price which have important technology patents which can help Apple going forward.
    edited May 6
  • Reply 5 of 33
    SoliSoli Posts: 9,208member
    wood1208 said:
    Is it 20 or 25 companies? Can't be both numbers.
    I’m sure he means 20 to 25.
    JWSCfastasleep
  • Reply 6 of 33
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,170member
    Soli said:
    wood1208 said:
    Is it 20 or 25 companies? Can't be both numbers.
    I’m sure he means 20 to 25.
    It means he really doesn’t know how many Apple bought but it is in the 20-25 range.
  • Reply 7 of 33
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 8,310member
    zoetmb said:
    If Apple is buying these companies in large part to acquire talent and staffing, I ask the question again that I've asked before:   what the hell are those tens of thousands of employees at Apple doing?    They don't produce that many products, most of the hardware updates are incremental, they still rely upon Intel for processors (although that might change in the future) and while their products are great in some respects, they're highly flawed in others.   They abandoned servers and network devices.   HomePod and AppleTV aren't exactly taking over the market.   They've had big problems with keyboards.   They seem to have abandoned their desire to produce a smart automobile.   They haven't made any obvious movies into AI and robotics, which I have always thought would be the future of Apple 10-15 years from now.   Siri still sucks.   Each new OS update decreases prior compatibility and seems filled with more bugs.    The long promised new MacPro still isn't here.   And their products (IMO) are far too expensive. 
    Ah, the instant gratification crowd. If you want to know, just go to Apple’s jobs pages, search, and read the descriptions. I’m a software dev so I occasional scan them, and there’s all sorts of non-consumer-facing internal projects. Tools for themselves, and tools & portals for partners. Normal enterprise work. You’ve been shown performances where products appear out of thin air with software and services ready to go, but there are a ton of moving pieces behind the scenes to get it there and keep it going. 

    The rest of your rant is silly. Cars are incremental, and expensive, and come out once a year. What the hell are all those auto workers doing?! Right??

    Also, Beats? Yeah they made their money back in the first year or two as I recall. Massive mind share, massive profit generator. Things those in business seek out...not being technically superior (see "Betamax", -ed).
    edited May 6 tmaymuthuk_vanalingampscooter63gregoriusmJWSCmacxpresslolliverfastasleepMisterKitCarnage
  • Reply 8 of 33
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 8,310member
    Funny someone on another thread just last week was trolling Apple as not being the old Apple, not buying companies anymore...and here we see that’s not even true. Oops.
    pscooter63macxpresslolliverfastasleepradarthekatlostkiwibrucemc
  • Reply 9 of 33
    tmaytmay Posts: 3,850member
    zoetmb said:
    If Apple is buying these companies in large part to acquire talent and staffing, I ask the question again that I've asked before:   what the hell are those tens of thousands of employees at Apple doing?    They don't produce that many products, most of the hardware updates are incremental, they still rely upon Intel for processors (although that might change in the future) and while their products are great in some respects, they're highly flawed in others.   They abandoned servers and network devices.   HomePod and AppleTV aren't exactly taking over the market.   They've had big problems with keyboards.   They seem to have abandoned their desire to produce a smart automobile.   They haven't made any obvious movies into AI and robotics, which I have always thought would be the future of Apple 10-15 years from now.   Siri still sucks.   Each new OS update decreases prior compatibility and seems filled with more bugs.    The long promised new MacPro still isn't here.   And their products (IMO) are far too expensive. 

    Personally, I think Apple is making itself too large to manage effectively.    On a much smaller scale, I've seen this before.   I worked for a company that had over 100 developers working on an e-commerce project and little got accomplished.   We got rid of the contractors and knocked the staff down to 22 and because 22 people could be easily managed, far more was accomplished.   

    Was the Beats acquisition really worth the $billions they paid?   Apple couldn't have instead produced headphones that competed with Beats and knocked them out of the market with superior marketing for far less money?    While Beats headphones are popular, it's not like they're actually any good.    They probably could have bought Sennheiser for a fraction of the cost or Grado for pocket change.   

    I have to wonder that with the speed that Apple is acquiring these companies, how many of them are successfully integrated into Apple where Apple actually makes use of the tech.   If they're buying them just to acquire patents as a protection against lawsuits, that's another matter. 

    With all of that cash and since Apple is emphasizing services because that's where the growth is, I also have to wonder if they shouldn't have attempted to buy 20th Century Fox (which went to Disney) or Warner (which went to AT&T).    
    Apple holds, world wide, 24% of headphone share, and almost certainly, a higher revenue share.

    https://musicindustryblog.wordpress.com/tag/headphone-market-shares/

    "Interestingly, Apple is the only top 20 headphone brand whose owners are not majority male."

    Perhaps you don't have a clue wrt Beats, and more generally Apple, so why wouldn't I assume you missed the mark as well on the rest of your post?

    StrangeDayspscooter63JWSCmacxpresslolliverfastasleepradarthekatjony0
  • Reply 10 of 33
    SoliSoli Posts: 9,208member
    lkrupp said:
    Soli said:
    wood1208 said:
    Is it 20 or 25 companies? Can't be both numbers.
    I’m sure he means 20 to 25.
    It means he really doesn’t know how many Apple bought but it is in the 20-25 range.
    1) Yeah, that's what 'to' means in my comment.

    2) He may know every single one but is using a range because exact statements like "we've bought 23 companies this year" or "we purchase an average of 5.75 companies per month" are not received well in the colloquial. In a quarterly conference call being precise would have more relevance. Or, there could be a range because of how one can measure a purchase. If there's an agreement in place but the paperwork has not been signed I can argue that it's both purchased and not purchased. Kinda like how buying a house can have that SOLD sign on it, but it's also still in the previous owners hands until all the paperwork has been signed. There could even be more steps if you involve lawyers to look over agreements or if gov't agencies have to be involved in the process.
    edited May 6 tmayStrangeDayspscooter63
  • Reply 11 of 33
    Looks like following old Microsoft route in doing these things.
    At least Apple is buying companies and using the technology, not buying them and burying it ala Microsoft. 

    One of the problems they is buying companies and trying to stitch them together.  Sometimes it doesn’t work well like Apple maps when it first came out.
    Siri started out ok and then it hit a wall and hasn’t really recovered.
    That’s because a lot of times the talent that created those things left Apple because they didn’t seem to fit well with the rest of the teams they have to work with. 

    I think Apple should spend more money performing post mortems on ideas that started out well and ended up poorly. That way they can get a better understanding on how a big company can integrate a smaller one and not overwhelm the talent they have acquired. 

    The same thing happened with Google and their Nest brand. You can’t just jam two companies together and expect them to work well. Tech companies might need mediators to help strengthen relationships between themselves and the companies they acquire. 
  • Reply 12 of 33
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 4,072member
    R&D is generally more focused in smaller companies. Snapping up talent with something on the burner is a valid way to progress but I have wondered whether Apple itself has the necessary focus on the products it is currently shipping.


  • Reply 13 of 33
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,731member
    zoetmb said:
    If Apple is buying these companies in large part to acquire talent and staffing, I ask the question again that I've asked before:   what the hell are those tens of thousands of employees at Apple doing?   
    Well, most of them are working in hundreds of Apple retail locations around the world. As you didn't know that then I think we can safely assume the rest of your post will carry the same staggering levels of cluelessness.

    zoetmb said:


    Was the Beats acquisition really worth the $billions they paid?   Apple couldn't have instead produced headphones that competed with Beats and knocked them out of the market with superior marketing for far less money?    While Beats headphones are popular, it's not like they're actually any good.    They probably could have bought Sennheiser for a fraction of the cost or Grado for pocket change.   

    Yup, there ya go.
    StrangeDaysgregoriusmmacxpresslolliverfastasleepbrucemc
  • Reply 14 of 33
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,688member
    tmay said:

    "Interestingly, Apple is the only top 20 headphone brand whose owners are not majority male."


    What does that mean?

    Apple is majority female owned or something?  :)

    I don't believe that's true.
  • Reply 15 of 33
    tmaytmay Posts: 3,850member
    apple ][ said:
    tmay said:

    "Interestingly, Apple is the only top 20 headphone brand whose owners are not majority male."


    What does that mean?

    Apple is majority female owned or something?  :)

    I don't believe that's true.
    Correlation is not causation, but it would appear that having diversity in a brand's operation is beneficial for sales. The auto industry found that out a long time ago.

    I can't speak for what the author of the article was intending, but, that is my takeaway.
    edited May 6 lolliver
  • Reply 16 of 33
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,688member
    tmay said:
    I suspect what it means is that audiophile's tend to be male, and audiophile brands appeal to audiophiles. Women are preferentially buying Apple / Beats  or other consumer headphone brands with less interest in traditional audiophile brands.
    Oh, I see. They're talking about the customers.

    I suppose that could be true. I see all sorts of people, including women, wearing Apple headphones outside, especially AirPods all of the time. I'm not sure that I would consider Apple's headphones to be in the typical "audiophile" category, but I suppose that doesn't make a difference, as long as they are selling well and lots of people are buying them, which is what is happening.


  • Reply 17 of 33
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 991member
    zoetmb said:
    If Apple is buying these companies in large part to acquire talent and staffing, I ask the question again that I've asked before:   what the hell are those tens of thousands of employees at Apple doing?    They don't produce that many products, most of the hardware updates are incremental, they still rely upon Intel for processors (although that might change in the future) and while their products are great in some respects, they're highly flawed in others.   They abandoned servers and network devices.   HomePod and AppleTV aren't exactly taking over the market.   They've had big problems with keyboards.   They seem to have abandoned their desire to produce a smart automobile.   They haven't made any obvious movies into AI and robotics, which I have always thought would be the future of Apple 10-15 years from now.   Siri still sucks.   Each new OS update decreases prior compatibility and seems filled with more bugs.    The long promised new MacPro still isn't here.   And their products (IMO) are far too expensive. 

    Personally, I think Apple is making itself too large to manage effectively.    On a much smaller scale, I've seen this before.   I worked for a company that had over 100 developers working on an e-commerce project and little got accomplished.   We got rid of the contractors and knocked the staff down to 22 and because 22 people could be easily managed, far more was accomplished.   

    Was the Beats acquisition really worth the $billions they paid?   Apple couldn't have instead produced headphones that competed with Beats and knocked them out of the market with superior marketing for far less money?    While Beats headphones are popular, it's not like they're actually any good.    They probably could have bought Sennheiser for a fraction of the cost or Grado for pocket change.   

    I have to wonder that with the speed that Apple is acquiring these companies, how many of them are successfully integrated into Apple where Apple actually makes use of the tech.   If they're buying them just to acquire patents as a protection against lawsuits, that's another matter. 

    With all of that cash and since Apple is emphasizing services because that's where the growth is, I also have to wonder if they shouldn't have attempted to buy 20th Century Fox (which went to Disney) or Warner (which went to AT&T).    
    I agree completely with this, Apple's R&D has ballooned over the last 7 or 8 years, but have the products, innovation and relative revenue kept up with this? Not at all. It's now about $3.7 billion per quarter, whereas in 2006 just before the iPhone it was just or $190m per quarter. That's 20 times as much. Even since 2012 it has increased massively, from about $750m per quarter to the $3.7bn it is now. Where is all that money going? The HomePod couldn't possibly have absorbed that many billions to design, and if it did, something has gone badly wrong. The iPhone was completely new, everything from custom chips, to custom screen, chassis, software, OS, interface, everything. All that on $750m per year. And as you say, now even with Apple's $14bn per year R&D, they struggle to keep their Macs updated. Just throwing money and people at problems isn't a way to fix them, you need a small group of the very best people. Just look at the recent AI article on the design group, there's only a few people there and they produce some incredible designs, arguably the best the world has seen.
  • Reply 18 of 33
    SoliSoli Posts: 9,208member
    elijahg said:
    zoetmb said:
    If Apple is buying these companies in large part to acquire talent and staffing, I ask the question again that I've asked before:   what the hell are those tens of thousands of employees at Apple doing?    They don't produce that many products, most of the hardware updates are incremental, they still rely upon Intel for processors (although that might change in the future) and while their products are great in some respects, they're highly flawed in others.   They abandoned servers and network devices.   HomePod and AppleTV aren't exactly taking over the market.   They've had big problems with keyboards.   They seem to have abandoned their desire to produce a smart automobile.   They haven't made any obvious movies into AI and robotics, which I have always thought would be the future of Apple 10-15 years from now.   Siri still sucks.   Each new OS update decreases prior compatibility and seems filled with more bugs.    The long promised new MacPro still isn't here.   And their products (IMO) are far too expensive. 

    Personally, I think Apple is making itself too large to manage effectively.    On a much smaller scale, I've seen this before.   I worked for a company that had over 100 developers working on an e-commerce project and little got accomplished.   We got rid of the contractors and knocked the staff down to 22 and because 22 people could be easily managed, far more was accomplished.   

    Was the Beats acquisition really worth the $billions they paid?   Apple couldn't have instead produced headphones that competed with Beats and knocked them out of the market with superior marketing for far less money?    While Beats headphones are popular, it's not like they're actually any good.    They probably could have bought Sennheiser for a fraction of the cost or Grado for pocket change.   

    I have to wonder that with the speed that Apple is acquiring these companies, how many of them are successfully integrated into Apple where Apple actually makes use of the tech.   If they're buying them just to acquire patents as a protection against lawsuits, that's another matter. 

    With all of that cash and since Apple is emphasizing services because that's where the growth is, I also have to wonder if they shouldn't have attempted to buy 20th Century Fox (which went to Disney) or Warner (which went to AT&T).    
    I agree completely with this, Apple's R&D has ballooned over the last 7 or 8 years, but have the products, innovation and relative revenue kept up with this? Not at all. It's now about $3.7 billion per quarter, whereas in 2006 just before the iPhone it was just or $190m per quarter. That's 20 times as much. Even since 2012 it has increased massively, from about $750m per quarter to the $3.7bn it is now. Where is all that money going? The HomePod couldn't possibly have absorbed that many billions to design, and if it did, something has gone badly wrong. The iPhone was completely new, everything from custom chips, to custom screen, chassis, software, OS, interface, everything. All that on $750m per year. And as you say, now even with Apple's $14bn per year R&D, they struggle to keep their Macs updated. Just throwing money and people at problems isn't a way to fix them, you need a small group of the very best people. Just look at the recent AI article on the design group, there's only a few people there and they produce some incredible designs, arguably the best the world has seen.
    1) The technologies and engineering going into an iPhone today v 2007 are worlds apart. Then there are all the investments in improving their parallel production lines to make their products. In 2006 was Apple designing their own cores, CPUs, GPUs, SoCs, and SIPs that are used in their Macs, iPhones, iPads, Watch, HomePod, Apple TV, AirPods, and Beats headphones? Even that list should give you a clue since in 2006 the only one of those products that existed was the Mac.

    2) The original iPhone was a completely new as a device for Apple, but the HW used a lot of off the shelf components. I believe the CPU was the same between the original and iPhone 3G models with a slight uptick in the clock rate.

    3) If you want to look at customizations, like the chassis, each new iPhone is Apple designing the chassis to fit that generation's components. That makes them all custom, but that isn't costly. What is costly is engineering a way to make the frame the antenna, designing your own cores around your OS and vice versa. That all happened after their R&D had major increases. On top of that, the R is R&D stands for research. That doesn't mean that research leads to a product. Even development (the D is R&D) can have setbacks like with AirPower. You not knowing every product Apple is using that R&D budget for doesn't mean they are only using it for products in which are aware.

    4) I know we like to think Apple doesn't release stuff fast enough because we desire to increase our instant gratification, but when you look at when they started offering new product categories it's happened a lot more often in recent years.

    • 1984 — Mac
    • 2001 — iPod (17 years) 
    • 2007 — iPhone (6 years) 
    • 2007 — Apple TV (6 months)
    • 2010 — iPad (3 years)
    • 2015 — Apple Watch (5 years)
    • 2016 — AirPods (1 year)
    • 2018 — HomePod (2 years)
    edited May 6 tmayLordeHawkStrangeDaysJWSCmacxpresslolliverfastasleepradarthekatbestkeptsecretbrucemc
  • Reply 19 of 33
    adybadyb Posts: 184member
    zoetmb said:

    While Beats headphones are popular, it's not like they're actually any good. 
    Is that so? I tried about 10 different sets of headphones before settling on a pair of Beats Studio3’s. Based on sound quality (the highly recommended Sony’s were far too bass heavy, didn’t like Bose or B&O’s ) & comfort (counted out B&W & Sennheiser).

    I know sound quality is very subjective but how many pairs of Beats headphones have you listened to recently?
    edited May 6 SoligregoriusmJWSClolliverradarthekatbrucemc
  • Reply 20 of 33
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 8,310member
    avon b7 said:
    R&D is generally more focused in smaller companies. Snapping up talent with something on the burner is a valid way to progress but I have wondered whether Apple itself has the necessary focus on the products it is currently shipping.
    Of course you're "conerned". LOL, yes, the handful of products that fit on a table, can Apple stay focused!? But but but they're doing...SERVICES now! Surely it's pandemonium over there!

    Please. How are your chinese knockoffs staying focused with ripoffs like their AirPod wannabes? Where is the "concern"?

    edited May 6 lolliveranantksundaramradarthekatbrucemc
Sign In or Register to comment.