Apple is buying more companies than we thought.
Apple’s head of internet services Eddy Cue explained to Backchannel how Apple buys smaller companies primarily for their talent — at a relatively prolific rate.
A large portion of Apple’s talent in artificial intelligence comes from acquisitions. “We’ve recently been buying 20 to 30 companies a year that are relatively small, really hiring the manpower,” says Cue.
Apple has bought a lot of artificial intelligence companies. Apple recently bought Turi, a Seattle-based machine learning startup founded by a University of Washington professor, for a reported $200 million dollars.
But it’s not the only one we know about. Other artificial intelligence companies Apple has bought recently include Emollient, Perceptio, and VocalIQ.
More than every 4 weeks
Apple CEO Tim Cook has been forthright about how acquisitive Apple is. “we have been buying companies on average every three to four weeks or so, and we continue to do that,” he said during Apple’s earnings call in July.
“”We’ve made 15 acquisitions in the last four quarters to accelerate our product and services roadmaps, and we’re always on the lookout for companies with great technology, talent, and strategic fit,” he said in April.
But that’s still a long way off from “20 to 30 companies a year.”
Apple doesn’t buy companies for revenue, according to Cook. It’s looking for talent and intellectual property, he told the Washington Post.
And because it tends to buy small, technology-focused startups, the deals are usually small enough that it doesn’t have to report the acquisitions to the SEC. Often the acquisitions go unnoticed for months.
Earlier this week, Fast Company reported that Apple had bought Gliimpse, a health data company. The funny thing is, Gliimpse was bought in February, months before anyone outside of Cupertino knew about it. There could be a lot of other Gliimpses out there that Apple has already bought — especially startups working in hot fields like deep learning or health technology.