Apple doesn't buy companies to stop competition, says CEO Tim Cook

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In an interview after the antitrust hearing on Wednesday, Apple CEO Tim Cook says that Apple buys companies to overcome obstacles, and not to limit competition.

Tim Cook has been under regulatory pressure over Apple's business model
Tim Cook has been under regulatory pressure over Apple's business model


After Tim Cook appeared in front of the House Antitrust Subcommittee on Wednesday, the company's various business practices have been called into question. Cook insisted that Apple was not making purchases to end competition, but to implement new technology or talent to better their platforms.

"If you look at the things behind the investigation, the things are acquisitions, and if you noticed, we didn't get any questions on acquisitions because our approach on acquisitions has been to buy companies where we have challenges, and IP, and then make them a feature of the phone," Cook said in an interview with CNBC.

The other companies in question, Facebook, Google, and Amazon, have all been questioned similarly. Acquisitions that appeared to end competition with their companies were all challenged by the subcommittee. Amazon was questioned over its purchase of Diapers.com, and Facebook about its purchase of Instagram.

At Wednesday's hearing, Cook was not questioned about any of Apple's major acquisitions. SRI was purchased to bring Siri to the iPhone, and Workflow enabled Shortcuts to become native to the iOS platform.

Apple's biggest public acquisition was the $3 Billion Beats By Dre takeover in 2014, which lead to the creation of Apple Music. The Beats platform still exists within Apple and competes directly with Apple's own AirPods brand.

"An example of that was Touch ID," Cook continued. "We bought a company that accelerated a Touch ID at a point."

Apple purchases a company every few weeks, and they do not always publicly announce such acquisitions. Dark Sky, the hyper-local weather app, was one such recent purchase. The weather service will be implemented in iOS 14, and its Android app removed from Google Play.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 19
    FranculesFrancules Posts: 122member
    I think Apple inc. & Amazon are cool. Facebook is alright. But google man they are messed up. 
    Beats
  • Reply 2 of 19
    BeatsBeats Posts: 2,525member
    Apple is the only moral company in the bunch. Sad.

    Francules said:
    I think Apple inc. & Amazon are cool. Facebook is alright. But google man they are messed up. 

    An evil company.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 19
    M68000M68000 Posts: 365member
    Oh come on Tim.  I’m a big Apple fan and have their phones since the beginning and several Macs.  That being said, the days of “competition” may be gone.  Let’s face it, Apple is now so huge it just scoops up anything that is really new and can put their own take on it in their products.  They likely have an army of lawyers to protect their stuff which is fine but could also attack anybody trying to get into the tech world too.  The chance of 2 guys starting up a new tech company in a garage and having it last are just about zero. Those days are over.  Am I overreacting?  As much as I like Apple,  it is obvious how they and a few other tech companies are now just huge to the point you wonder if anything new will come from anywhere else.
    edited July 2020 pembrokespice-boy
  • Reply 4 of 19
    normmnormm Posts: 637member
    M68000 said:
    Oh come on Tim.  I’m a big Apple fan and have their phones since the beginning and several Macs.  That being said, the days of “competition” may be gone.  Let’s face it, Apple is now so huge it just scoops up anything that is really new and can put their own take on it in their products.  They likely have an army of lawyers to protect their stuff which is fine but could also attack anybody trying to get into the tech world too.  The chance of 2 guys starting up a new tech company in a garage and having it last are just about zero. Those days are over.  Am I overreacting?  As much as I like Apple,  it is obvious how they and a few other tech companies are now just huge to the point you wonder if anything new will come from anywhere else.
    We're in a different stage of the computer era.  There's a lot of benefit from having just a few standard platforms.  Once enough stuff has been built for them, the inertia to add to them rather than start over is enormous, and doesn't come from any artificial barriers to competition.  And remember that one of the biggest platforms is Linux, which is free and open.
    baconstangInspiredCodepscooter63watto_cobraFileMakerFeller
  • Reply 5 of 19
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,408member
    It’s perfectly legal to buy up companies, technologies and patents to better compete OR prevent competitors from gaining a leg up. That’s just business. More competitors will simply enter the same market if profits are excessive or create new markets (these are commonly known as ‘disruptive events’) to better compete.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 19
    M68000 said:
    Oh come on Tim.  I’m a big Apple fan and have their phones since the beginning and several Macs.  That being said, the days of “competition” may be gone.  Let’s face it, Apple is now so huge it just scoops up anything that is really new and can put their own take on it in their products.  They likely have an army of lawyers to protect their stuff which is fine but could also attack anybody trying to get into the tech world too.  The chance of 2 guys starting up a new tech company in a garage and having it last are just about zero. Those days are over.  Am I overreacting?  As much as I like Apple,  it is obvious how they and a few other tech companies are now just huge to the point you wonder if anything new will come from anywhere else.
    I don't think that is the case for medium size tech companies, but forming a new giant tech company starting from two people (like Apple) is possible but it would need to grow large enough to follow Apple's strategy. To become big tech these days you would need to do what Apple did and get many years ahead in a stagnant or emerging industry in secret so nobody can catch up to you once you do release.  Apple has mastered this strategy which resulted in the iPod, iPhone, Apple Silicon, etc. I suspect they will be so far ahead in AR that it will work again. 

     Suing the little guy without patents is bad for PR (nobody wants to partner with bullies) and suing big companies is a software patent Cold War, so it just isn't done.  Sherlocking is still a thing, but pick the right product and this won't happen.  I personally have nothing wrong with Sherlocking since it is legitimate competition.  It is just a risk you take when starting any business.
    edited July 2020 SpamSandwichwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 19
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 5,689member
    LOL what the hell is this? The circulars that go straight from my mailbox to my recycling are now popping up on AI.


    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 19
    chasmchasm Posts: 2,389member
    M68000 said:
    Oh come on Tim.  I’m a big Apple fan and have their phones since the beginning and several Macs.  That being said, the days of “competition” may be gone.  Let’s face it, Apple is now so huge it just scoops up anything that is really new and can put their own take on it in their products.  

     The chance of 2 guys starting up a new tech company in a garage and having it last are just about zero. Those days are over.  Am I overreacting?  As much as I like Apple,  it is obvious how they and a few other tech companies are now just huge to the point you wonder if anything new will come from anywhere else.
    1. This is demonstrably not true. Apple tried a number of times to acquire Dropbox, as that was pretty much exactly what they wanted to do with iCloud going forward. Dropbox opted not to sell. I don’t remember what year that was, but it was quite a long time back, and iCloud is only just now in a place where it can offer a meaningful alternative to DB. Other companies have no doubt rebuffed Apple as well (you can bet Zoom has had calls from Apple and others like them).

    2. If “Apple is now so huge it just scooped up anything that is really new,” how are Google, Microsoft, and other large tech companies (IBM, Spotify, Amazon, et al) able to compete? Oh oops so much for that theory ...

    3. “The chance of two guys starting up a new tech company in a garage and having it last are just about zero.” Again, this is not true. I’m sure that the vast majority of such firms (which don’t stay “two guys” for very long, as Apple didn’t) eventually get bought out by a larger firm (see also Nest selling out to Google), but that has been the way of businesses long before technology was an industry. All kinds of successful companies buy all kinds of startups and not-so-startup small companies all the time, always have done. This is one of the ways the rich get richer and the big firms get bigger.

    This happens because of the reason a lot of “two guys” (or women, or a mix) start companies in the first place: build it up to a success, then sell it for a hefty profit and either a) start another startup or b) retire on the proceeds. But sometimes they don’t. Nando’s started off as a family business, so did Ben & Jerry’s (literally two guys!). Marco Arment has some successful apps, and as far as I can tell it’s still just him doing most of it. I’m sure he’s rebuffed offers to buy some of his products.

    4. Finally, I have to point out the flaw in your last statement — “you wonder if anything new will come from anywhere else.” Did you read the article? Siri, Touch ID, Apple Music, Dark Sky, and a huge host of other things we think of as “Apple” things were all licensed or bought out from far smaller companies. The “carrot” of a big payoff and/or far more infrastructure/growth options/support for their vision is what motivated these and many other startups/small companies to join Apple, and you can rest assured that this will continue to motivate people who have big, great ideas to start up companies to realise their visions. Yes, sometimes acquisition hurts/ruins the rep a product or service had before (see also things bought by FB and Google, especially), but more often it gets that product/service where the original creators could not quite take it. M&A is one of the cornerstones of business, especially when done successfully.

    This is not to say that all big mega corps are great and everything is fine with no adjustments or rules (or perhaps even breakups) needed, but it is to say that this is nothing new under the sun of capitalism.
    retrogustowatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 9 of 19
    BeatsBeats Posts: 2,525member
    M68000 said:
    Oh come on Tim.  I’m a big Apple fan and have their phones since the beginning and several Macs.  That being said, the days of “competition” may be gone.  Let’s face it, Apple is now so huge it just scoops up anything that is really new and can put their own take on it in their products.  They likely have an army of lawyers to protect their stuff which is fine but could also attack anybody trying to get into the tech world too.  The chance of 2 guys starting up a new tech company in a garage and having it last are just about zero. Those days are over.  Am I overreacting?  As much as I like Apple,  it is obvious how they and a few other tech companies are now just huge to the point you wonder if anything new will come from anywhere else.
    Because of Apple it's easier than ever for 2 guys to create a tech industry and become millionaires almost over night. Tim Cook mentioned this about the App Store. Steve Jobs didn't have the opportunities that exist today.

    Instagram is the perfect example of a small company rising because of iPhone. They CHOSE to sell to Facebook. Had they not sold they would have been larger than Snap Inc.


    LOL what the hell is this? The circulars that go straight from my mailbox to my recycling are now popping up on AI.



    AI uses creepy Google. I'm starting to think Google also listens in. I mentioned a brand I'm not interested in by my work PC and now I get bombarded with ads from that brand on said computer.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 19
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    Francules said:
    I think Apple inc. & Amazon are cool. Facebook is alright. But google man they are messed up. 
    Gatorbait. 
    watto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 11 of 19
    Beats said:
    Apple is the only moral company in the bunch. Sad.

    Francules said:
    I think Apple inc. & Amazon are cool. Facebook is alright. But google man they are messed up. 

    An evil company.
    All these companies have elaborate tax schemas and BEPS practices that allow them to pay less taxes that you or me on our salaries. I cannot call these companies “moral”, and I believe that these are “to be banned” practices worldwide.
    in the meantime long AAPL, FB and thinking about an entry on GOOG and MSFT.
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 12 of 19
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    Beats said:
    Apple is the only moral company in the bunch. Sad.

    Francules said:
    I think Apple inc. & Amazon are cool. Facebook is alright. But google man they are messed up. 

    An evil company.
    All these companies have elaborate tax schemas and BEPS practices that allow them to pay less taxes that you or me on our salaries. I cannot call these companies “moral”, and I believe that these are “to be banned” practices worldwide.
    in the meantime long AAPL, FB and thinking about an entry on GOOG and MSFT.

    The elaborate tax schemes are legal because people in government are using the same tax schemes themselves. 

    I also try to pay as little tax as legally possible, and I'm pretty sure that you're not volunteering to pay extra.


    macguiwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 13 of 19
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member

    M68000 said:
    Oh come on Tim.  I’m a big Apple fan and have their phones since the beginning and several Macs.  That being said, the days of “competition” may be gone.  Let’s face it, Apple is now so huge it just scoops up anything that is really new and can put their own take on it in their products.  They likely have an army of lawyers to protect their stuff which is fine but could also attack anybody trying to get into the tech world too.  The chance of 2 guys starting up a new tech company in a garage and having it last are just about zero. Those days are over.  Am I overreacting?  As much as I like Apple,  it is obvious how they and a few other tech companies are now just huge to the point you wonder if anything new will come from anywhere else.

    Starts post with list of Apple products he owns, as if if this somehow proves he's right.
    Then uses the phrase "Let's face it …" to indicate that a flimsy argument is on its way, before leading to phrases such as "they likely have" and "but could also" which points to speculation rather than fact.

    They likely have an army of lawyers to protect their stuff which is fine but could also attack anybody trying to get into the tech world too.

    How many IP protection suits has Apple taken out in the past fifteen years? In fact, how many has Google taken out? How about IBM? Microsoft? These massive tech firms do not use patents to attack the little guy: it's really bad PR. They use them to protect themselves from other big tech companies.

    The chance of 2 guys starting up a new tech company in a garage and having it last are just about zero. Those days are over.
    Rubbish. People are starting new small outfits all the time, and you're going to see a wave of them this year due to so many people being laid off. I pay a subscription for AnyList, which is a great app and is two friends working out of a living room.

    And do you know what has facilitated a couple of friends starting up a business in one of their living rooms? The App Store.

    watto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 14 of 19
    macguimacgui Posts: 2,041member
    M68000 said:
    Let’s face it, Apple is now so huge it just scoops up anything that is really new and can put their own take on it in their products.  
    Your entire post is ridiculous and well off the mark, as has been pointed out several times now. But the really amusing part is your use of "Let's face it..." a tactic used to imply that whatever is about to follow is known fact, QED.

    In this case, you've regurgitated what Cook said in the article and tried to present it as some devious, hidden plan you've uncovered, ignoring that Cook has said that they buy companies to make their product better. People sell their companies to Apple, Apple uses the manpower and/or tech they've acquired in their products, and you have a problem with that. Oy.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 19
    pembrokepembroke Posts: 228member
     Dark Sky, the hyper-local weather app, was one such recent purchase. The weather service will be implemented in iOS 14, and its Android app removed from Google Play.”

    > Removing the App from Google Play diminishes the usage of the Android platform, rather than running the App on iOS and that some how being a better experience than using it on Android. 

    Removing a ‘widget’ used by competitor systems, rather than simply drawing the customers of the competitors over to your platform through offering a better widget smacks of ‘stopping competition’ alright. 
  • Reply 16 of 19
    spice-boyspice-boy Posts: 1,439member
    M68000 said:
    Oh come on Tim.  I’m a big Apple fan and have their phones since the beginning and several Macs.  That being said, the days of “competition” may be gone.  Let’s face it, Apple is now so huge it just scoops up anything that is really new and can put their own take on it in their products.  They likely have an army of lawyers to protect their stuff which is fine but could also attack anybody trying to get into the tech world too.  The chance of 2 guys starting up a new tech company in a garage and having it last are just about zero. Those days are over.  Am I overreacting?  As much as I like Apple,  it is obvious how they and a few other tech companies are now just huge to the point you wonder if anything new will come from anywhere else.
    Apple has become a monopoly it is the nature of capitalism as a company grows, gobbles up or put's competitors out of business it will dictate the rules and nobody but congress will be able to stop them. Anti-trust laws go back to the robber baron days and have saved our economy from a few players having complete control over an industry. We in that time again as most wealth is controlled by fewer people each year. This is not healthy for a capitalist/democracy. Apple has hit the wall along with Facebook, and to lesser extent Google. Be honest have Apple invented a product which blew (the few competitors still around) out of the water? I know all you guys are APPL stock holders so you will insult me like usual for voicing my opinion but Apple has become a bigger and more controlling Microsoft and are you getting sick of drinking that Apple Kool aid yet?
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 17 of 19
    razorpitrazorpit Posts: 1,796member
    spice-boy said:
    M68000 said:
    Oh come on Tim.  I’m a big Apple fan and have their phones since the beginning and several Macs.  That being said, the days of “competition” may be gone.  Let’s face it, Apple is now so huge it just scoops up anything that is really new and can put their own take on it in their products.  They likely have an army of lawyers to protect their stuff which is fine but could also attack anybody trying to get into the tech world too.  The chance of 2 guys starting up a new tech company in a garage and having it last are just about zero. Those days are over.  Am I overreacting?  As much as I like Apple,  it is obvious how they and a few other tech companies are now just huge to the point you wonder if anything new will come from anywhere else.
    Apple has become a monopoly it is the nature of capitalism as a company grows, gobbles up or put's competitors out of business it will dictate the rules and nobody but congress will be able to stop them. Anti-trust laws go back to the robber baron days and have saved our economy from a few players having complete control over an industry. We in that time again as most wealth is controlled by fewer people each year. This is not healthy for a capitalist/democracy. Apple has hit the wall along with Facebook, and to lesser extent Google. Be honest have Apple invented a product which blew (the few competitors still around) out of the water? I know all you guys are APPL stock holders so you will insult me like usual for voicing my opinion but Apple has become a bigger and more controlling Microsoft and are you getting sick of drinking that Apple Kool aid yet?
    Let me let you in on a little secret. Capitalism rewards smart business decisions. Communism on the other hand rewards those who have done the most favors for government. Once you have nothing left to offer your government you are treated like everyone else. No more favors for you. I’d rather have a free thinking business man provide me goods and services than some government official who doesn’t know what it takes to make a pencil be in charge.
  • Reply 18 of 19
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 5,689member
    spice-boy said:
    M68000 said:
    Oh come on Tim.  I’m a big Apple fan and have their phones since the beginning and several Macs.  That being said, the days of “competition” may be gone.  Let’s face it, Apple is now so huge it just scoops up anything that is really new and can put their own take on it in their products.  They likely have an army of lawyers to protect their stuff which is fine but could also attack anybody trying to get into the tech world too.  The chance of 2 guys starting up a new tech company in a garage and having it last are just about zero. Those days are over.  Am I overreacting?  As much as I like Apple,  it is obvious how they and a few other tech companies are now just huge to the point you wonder if anything new will come from anywhere else.
    Apple has become a monopoly it is the nature of capitalism as a company grows, gobbles up or put's competitors out of business it will dictate the rules and nobody but congress will be able to stop them. Anti-trust laws go back to the robber baron days and have saved our economy from a few players having complete control over an industry. We in that time again as most wealth is controlled by fewer people each year. This is not healthy for a capitalist/democracy. Apple has hit the wall along with Facebook, and to lesser extent Google. Be honest have Apple invented a product which blew (the few competitors still around) out of the water? I know all you guys are APPL stock holders so you will insult me like usual for voicing my opinion but Apple has become a bigger and more controlling Microsoft and are you getting sick of drinking that Apple Kool aid yet?
    Which industry does Apple have a monopoly in?
  • Reply 19 of 19
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 5,689member

    pembroke said:
    “ Dark Sky, the hyper-local weather app, was one such recent purchase. The weather service will be implemented in iOS 14, and its Android app removed from Google Play.”

    > Removing the App from Google Play diminishes the usage of the Android platform, rather than running the App on iOS and that some how being a better experience than using it on Android. 

    Removing a ‘widget’ used by competitor systems, rather than simply drawing the customers of the competitors over to your platform through offering a better widget smacks of ‘stopping competition’ alright. 
    Ridiculous. There are plenty of other Weather data sources and apps available for consumers on Android (and iOS) to choose from. There's nothing particularly unique about Dark Sky other than it's designed well — it's just a weather data aggregator from various sources. Users can easily switch to another app with the same functionality. The apps that currently pull data from Dark Sky's API can just switch to another source as well. 
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