Acquisitions in the tech world are difficult, with constantly changing hands, making it difficult to follow up. And in the case of Apple, it is more difficult, as it is mostly kept secret. Be it Beats or Siri, or the 20-25 companies bought by Apple in 2019, Apple has always made one thing clear- don’t tell anyone!
According to Tim Cook, Apple undertakes large-scale investments like developing its campuses, and only after that do they undertake acquisitions. Being offered to be bought by Apple itself is a huge thing, as the process is well-taken care of, offering the best deals.
Let’s look at some acquisitions made by Apple,
1. The well-known ones
NeXT cost Apple $429 million (and shares) in 1997, which got Steve Jobs back, and created the iMac.
17 years later, the firm spent $3 billion to buy Beats. Even today the company sells Beats headphones, though Beats music came to an end in 2015.
Siri was the name of the voice assistant’s original developer company and the voice recognition app as well. On acquiring the firm, Apple kept the same name, and even today is known as Siri.
The same is the case with Shazam, a company bought by Apple for $400 million in 2018.
It even bought Beddit in 2017, and the Beddit Sleep Monitor 3.5 was launched in 2018, though now it is no longer for sale.
2. The Discreet Ones
Apple made a $1 billion acquisition of Intel’s smartphone modem business in 2019.
Apple spent $485 million on buying online magazine service- Texture, which resurfaced as AppleNews+
It also undertook one acquisition where the company was iOS-only, Workflow, now called as Shortcuts, which is an important part of iOS, and with macOS Monterey, they came to the Mac, too.
3. The Secret Ones
Apple is now focussing on other areas as well. For example, with the purchase of classical music streaming service Primephonic in 2021 shows. And it’s buying AI Music in 2022.
Then there is the unannounced ‘Apple Car’, from Drive.ai which Apple bought in 2019.
Apple could have bought almost 50 companies since 2019. But owing to circumstances brought about by the pandemic, the pace of acquisitions has slowed.
Reasons why Apple buys small firms and not well-established startups
Apple does not buy every company, but only those ‘that can fit and have a strategic purpose to their needs’. Apple researches challenges that pose a threat and buys smaller companies that can address these challenges.
The company does not believe in hiring bankers to deal with small yet crucial acquisitions. It tries to complete its mergers and acquisitions procedures with the least involvement of banks, through its M&A team.
It follows a culture of secrecy, by which it acquires companies to gather technical staff in a bid to defeat its competitors or create new products. Even employees of firms acquired by Apple are made to understand, to not reveal that their company has been bought by Apple.